Monday Voyages: Sigiriya the Lion Rock in Sri Lanka

5/17/2010 12:39:00 AM ·

Lion Rock, otherwise known as Sigiriya, is a archaeological site with a cube shaped rock at the center. The rocks is made primarily out of volcanic rock and reaches heights of 1214 feet.

During the 4th century, the site was used as a Buddhist monastery, more importantly it was surrounded by a complex under the rule of King Kasyapa. Reminicient of a castle, this geological wonder is surrounded by lush jungles and a mud moat. The top of the formation is a castle that was rumored to be the pleasure palace of the king. After the king died, the castle was reverted back to a monastery, however due to misuse, the castle fell to ruins.

One one side of the rock, there is what's called the "Mirror Wall" measuring 460 feet long and 131 feet high. This mirror is a culmination of painted frescoes depicting beautiful women with flowers in their hair. The paintings have disappeared over time, yet they have inspired some of the greatest love poems the world has ever seen. Written on walls of course.

The stone lion has a narrow, wrought iron, spiral staircase that leads to the terrace, which was located below what was once a lion head. The paws are now all that remains. Just like in a movie, the visitors would have had to gain access to the castle through the lion's mouth.

If you'd like to visit Lion Rock-Sigiriya, just be aware that the staircase to reach the summit is so narrow that only one foot can be placed at a time. If you don't enjoy tricky climbs, this may not be the site for your next visit. However if you like adventure, this place is full of it.

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