Blazed by the sun rays early morning at 6.30 on the 2nd day, we hopped onto a rented bus by Stubby's dad(omg you have no idea how rich their family is!) and departed for our Buddhist temple run.
Plenty in our group were surprised that Sri Lankans have a strong faith for Buddhism, though I've known it before because the Theravadian Buddhism I studied was pretty much propagated by Sri Lankan monks.
We stopped by Perera and Sons for a quick breakfast; the name of the place almost tricked us into believing Stubby's family owned the chain!
Our first stop of the day was the Ancient City of Sigiriya in Dambulla, the center of Sri Lanka.
The most significant landmark of the city is the Lion's Rock; because of its side view which looks like a Lion's head.
The whole place was literally covered with rocks, and the Lion's Rock is pretty much the center piece of everything.
The tickets were pretty pricey for foreigners; up to a whopping 40USD(RM120) when you pay a visit. But, I would say the ticket was worthwhile for the experience and view.
Engineering students probably would love it here, same goes to architecture students because the layout of the whole kingdom is simply A-mazing! The kingdom garden was surrounded by a moat, similar to the old city of Chiang Mai which served as the first defense for the kingdom. How? They bred crocodiles in those moats to munch on the intruders of the kingdom. Smart much?
The gardens in the kingdom are now deserted, but these squarish holes were actually water dams. As it was the dry season when we were there, the dams weren't filled. As the raining season turns in, these dams will be filled completed with water and you will be able to see multiple ponds around the garden.
The whole stretch of walkway dragged us across the water garden around the huge piece of land, until we reach another nightmare- staircases.
Visiting Sigiriya is just stairs and more stairs. You can take your time, but your legs will probably scream the next day because its definitely worse than Batu Caves.
A little history on Sigirya. It began with the establishment of the King Kasyapa's Kingdom, which later on was taken over by a buddhist monastery; yet again taken over by the Kingdom of Kandy later before its abandonment until the 1850s where excavation of the site began.
There are a few more gardens around the area, but I'd figure the Lion's Paw and the altar are much more interesting than the rest of the architecture around.
You have to admire how successful the kingdom back in 495 CE is able to pull of such majestic establishment and settlement of a kingdom! The stair I was sitting on was made of MARBLE. They had marble stairs in that ages! Imagine how great the kingdom would have flourished if it weren't defeated back then!
Halfway climb up the stairs to the altar, looking back will present you the long stretch of pavement you have strode across to the beginning of the stairs. The massive layout of the water garden was so obvious while the view downwards was simple breathtaking. Who knew Sri Lanka had such a huge piece of jewel sitting right in its center?
As you enter the remnants of the kingdom within the walls of the palace, you will be surrounded with vivid wall drawings of the life back in the days. I guess they didn't have lingerie back then to cover stuffs, but it was vivid enough to show how things were back then.
It's amazing how they could have carved those drawings on these walls, with COLORS on them. What did they use? Pastel? Buncho? You probably wouldn't even knew unless you scrap things off for analysis; which is probably a crime subjected to sentencing in Sri Lanka.
Even within the palace itself, fleets of stairs above ground, there are still dams to store water. King Kasyapa was literally the engineering genius back in his days of reign.
After a good long climb we finally made our way to the Lion's Paw. The carvings were REALLY beautiful, and the paws were surreal! Even Sunway Pyramid had like wrong curves on their sphinx, but King Kasyapa NAILED those paws!
The climb didn't end there, because the real deal comes after climbing the fleet of stainless stell stairs behind me leading to the altar.
As you reached the peak of the Lion's Rock, you will feast your eyes with the panoramic view of the whole Sigiriya. You can literally see ALL areas of the kingdom, while troops of enemies from distance away could be spotted within a stroll around the parameter of the altar! The view up here really reminds me of the Animarium from Power Rangers Wild Force.
It looks like it is barren now because all of the timber built on it back then were destroyed over the years, leaving the bricks and rocks.
The wind up here is also extremely strong, while you really need to be extremely careful of wasp attack because their nest is pretty much inaccessible to humans to rid them off.
Going downwards from the altar was INSANELY scary because of the creaking of the stairs, the wind, and the wasp flying around. We had no problem walking down because we did it in a very synchronized pace or else we would have had panic attack.
Back down around the rest of the kingdom, there are some interesting natural made rock figures like the Cobra Cave:
It's a great place to go, and a MUST go place if you ever visit Sri Lanka. There was a museum in the area introducing the whole kingdom, which I strongly suggest you go before you explore Sigiriya's grounds so you have a rough idea what you need and will see. Photos were restricted in the museum, so I guess that's all for Sigiriya!