Sigiriya: The 8th Wonder of the World


Like Anuradhapura, Sigiriya was yet another, albeit short-lived, capital of the Siganese empire. Also known as the Lion Rock, Sigiriya was built by King Kasyapa in 477. The royal fortress was built on the top of a 200m high rock that unnaturally emerges out of the earth. In an otherwise flat part of the Sri Lankan countryside, Sigiriya’s impressive-looking rock anomaly is awe-inspiring to see. When the palace was abandoned after King Kasyapa’s death it was then used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya is considered by many to be the 8th Wonder of the World, and is one of the many Unesco World Heritage sites that Sri Lanka offers.
We woke up in Anuradhapura and were back on the road at a ridiculous time of the morning. We switched buses in Dambulla and made the final 45 minute trek to Sigiriya’s base: it was 9:30am. Not bad!
Even from the road, Sigiriya was impressive. It just seemed so unnatural. The surrounding area was a beautifully kept garden that spread out across the flat land. Right down the center of the garden was a path that led towards the rock face.
Sigiriya was impressively huge.
“It’s going to take us hours to climb this” we both said. But surprisingly it didn’t. Without stops, you could climb up the 200m in less than a half hour easily. Along the climb you can see perfectly preserved fresco paintings, coloured into the side of the rock. On a small plateau 3/4 of the way up, was a massive gateway in the shape of a lion. The lions paws create the entrance for the final steps to the top.
From the top, the views are breathtaking. Just endless miles of green jungle and palm-fringed lakes. Apart from a couple smaller hills, the land is flat, making Sigiriya even more of an oddity.
Kelsi and I sat under the shade of a tree with a little stray dog just taking in the scenery. Apparently the little dog climbs the huge rock every morning with the first tourists. At 6:00, when Sigiriya closes, she climbs back to the bottom with the last stragglers.
The shade was wonderful and the breeze even nicer on such a scorching hot morning. We explored the ruins for about a half hour before finally making our descent.
At $30 US dollars, Sigiriya is a pretty expensive entrance fee. But the climb is fun and the views are worth it; you can’t come to Sri Lanka and not visit it. And who knows, maybe one day this wonder will make the top 7 list! Either way, I’m glad I can check it off the bucket list.