Tell someone that there’s a huge rock in the middle of a country and chances are they will assume you’re talking about Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia. However, that is also the case with Sigiriya which plays host to a mysterious rock fort. Admittedly I’d never even heard of this spectacular giant rock until the early part of last year when the idea of going to Sri Lanka was first floated.
Having paid $40 each for the day trip as well as $25 for the cultural triangle round ticket something had to give and it just happened to be the thing that I most wanted to see in the country! However, there was an alternative which I was very happy to go along with. Our hotelier/tour guide Rath introduced us to Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple which is a nearby place offering remarkable views of Sigiriya Rock for a fraction of the price that it would have cost to climb it itself.
This place cost $3 (instead of $30 for Sigiriya Rock) and, as well as the hike up, it also had the bonus of possessing a shallow cave (about half way up) with a 12.5 metre long brick statue of a recumbent Buddha.
There are signs at all buddha statues in Sri Lanka telling visitors not to take photographs with their back to him. I have to say that I was unaware of that beforehand and I’m sure I’ve committed that sin at a few places in the past or maybe it’s mostly dependent on the country. I think the picture taken below with the aid of a selfie stick does not break any such rules!
As we got to close to the summit it became a bit more like rock climbing and an unfortunate wrong turn right at the end had my wife in a panic and scared sh*tless as she’s not done anything like that before. Despite my assurances that she’d be alright she couldn’t be persuaded to go the two or three steps up to the top which I thought was a big shame. She was able to see the rock in the distance though but it wasn’t quite the same as what I saw.
The upper surface is actually quite steeply sloped and consists of solid rock with one huge boulder close to the edge which is just asking to be pushed over the edge!
The views were stunning, they really were. The best part of this slightly strenuous climb is that you are greeted by a vista similar to that of Sigiriya but with the added bonus that Sigiriya itself is in the pictures. A couple of Aussies helped me out with the photos I’m in!
That wasn’t the last we saw of the rock as there were a couple more sightings from different angles down at ground level.
Whilst I was a little sad that I didn’t get to see a bit more of the rock up close, I was very satisfied with the spectacular views of it from distance.
Click here to read ‘Sri Lanka 2017 Pt IV: Dambulla & Some Wild Elephants’