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Updated by Joanna James on Feb 11, 2018
Headline for What to know before climbing the Sigiriya Rock - The pride of Sri Lanka
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Joanna James Joanna James
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What to know before climbing the Sigiriya Rock - The pride of Sri Lanka

Sigiriya is a well known World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka and is one of the most impressive rock cities of all time. There are a few things about it that you should know before you begin the climb.

1

History

A concubine for the king gave birth to King Kasyapa I and he grew up and went on to build Sigiriya. Fear of unknown enemies and sudden attacks made him seek a safe place to rule at and he chose to create a palace and city of his own on top of the biggest and tallest rock he could find. Sigiriya was also the capital of the island back then.

2

Insects

When you begin climbing up the rock, be careful as to not disturb the many wasp nests on the face of the rock as they get angry soon and will attack you relentlessly. Wear clothing that covers all parts of your body to be safer during an attack. Staying quiet is also a good way to not annoy the wasps.

3

Entry

The entry to the palace on top of the rock is engulfed by large stone paws that were a part of a lion back in the days. The name Sigiriya signifies "Lion Rock" too and this is the way to enter the ruins. If you are staying at a hotel close to the rock, like Heritance Kandalama, they will be glad to tell you exactly how to get to the entrance, either by a taxi or their own hotel cars.

4

Frescoes

One of the most photographed things in Sigiriya is the colourful and vividly painted murals on the rock walls. A typical hotel in Sigiriya will have photographs of these frescoes on display at the lobby itself. The quirky yet poetic Mirror Wall in Sigiriya has the writings of many poets who visited the place through the centuries.

5

Mirror Wall

Historians believe that the Mirror Wall was originally polished to perfection for the King to look at and admire himself while he walked through the corridors of Sigiriya, but after years of people writing on it lovingly, it is more of a graffiti wall that portrays the writings of impressed people over the years.

6

Gardens

The gardens in Sigiriya are some of the oldest gardens in the world and are also the most beautiful example of ancient urban planning. The garden has pools, ponds, terraces, fountains and the most shocking thing of all is that these fountains are still working!

7

Summit

The ancient palace used to be on the summit of the rock when it was first built, now, you can view the remains of the walls and columns that speak of the past and glorious royal living. Spreading over 1.5 hectares, the foundations of the buildings are still strong and the summit has another pool that was made by diligently cutting into the rock. The view from the top of Sigiriya is well worth the visit if the other factors haven't convinced you yet.