Sri Lanka is home to eight World Heritage Sites recognised by UNESCO, namely, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, the Golden Temple in Dambulla, Kandy, the Central Highlands, Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Sigiriya. Of these sites, it is perhaps the Sigiriya Lion Rock that often inspires debates and discussions as to its architecture, and the sheer engineering marvels that would have been required for its construction in the 5th century. Its popularity even led to Duran Duran selecting the site to film their video for their hit single, ‘Save a Prayer’. As a result, there has been an expansion in accommodation options catering to the increase in visitors and tourists to the area. Those looking for places to reside in before and after climbing the Rock will easily be able to find many a Sigiriya hotel to suit their purposes, such as the Water Garden Sigiriya among several others.
Inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1982, the Rock was selected as the site of his Kingdom by King Kasyapa shortly after usurping his father, King Dhatusena, from the throne. During his reign, he designed Sigiriya to be a Rock Fortress complete with gardens, a Mirror Wall and frescoes that can be seen by visitors even today. The Kingdom was protected from enemy forces by a moat which surrounds the area and which is also connected to a water garden within the compound. Furthermore, the compound also hosts several other gardens, including the Boulder Garden and the Terraced Garden.
Visitors to Sigiriya will be required to take a detour from the route to the summit if they wish to see the famous frescoes which have been argued to resemble paintings in the Ajantha Caves. This will also provide them with an opportunity to see the Mirror Wall which is rumoured to have been so highly polished that one could see their own reflection as they walked by. The climb to the Summit can be gruelling, especially on warm days, and when there is a large influx of visitors. However, those who have witnessed the panoramic view from the top will certainly argue that it is indeed worth the trek.
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+