We arrived at the Sigiriya Hotel around 10-ish. It was too late to climb and the heat of the equatorial sun will sear us to ash by the time we reach the top of the rock. So we asked the tuktuk driver to fetch us at three past noon. That means we have enough time to lounge by the pool and get into proper business–Lion Lager time!
The first time I saw the Rock of Sigiriya was when I was in high school. It was an old hard bound book in the library possibly published in the 70’s. A picture of a solitary rock formation in the middle of the vast plains of Matale stimulated my imagination and actually convinced myself that it used to be a landing site of ancient alien space crafts.
What the hell a huge solid rock doing in the middle of nowhere with no other similar rock material within the 50 kilometer radius? Might have been an installed facility by the pre-historic galactic visitors who made the same landing sites like the Carnac stones of France, Stonehenge of UK and the Nasca Plateau in Peru. I know, that’s me with too much of Erich von Daniken shit.
But geologically speaking, it is nothing but a volcanic plug, a landform created when magma hardens within a vent on an active volcano. To illustrate: A volcano is to a pimple and a volcanic plug is to a blackhead. Get the picture? (Disgusting!)
The rock is surrounded with lush forest and sporadic commercial hotels and resorts. But no establishment is higher than the trees so they are pretty hidden from the …(ahem) aliens!
a familiar looking imagery at the boulder garden
At the gate of the site we had to slice-off LKR 3,300 for the entrance fee. Then there was this local tour guide who literally barricaded the way to offer his service, we haggled and eventually ended up saying yes and we were compelled to hire him in the tune of LRK 1500, he started blabbering about the rock’s history even before we knocked back into our senses that we are not fans of package holidays let alone guided tours. Good Job!
The money that we were allocating for another elephant ride flew into the air and gone with the wind. Oh well, we got spared from regrets though, thanks to our guide who smells like one adorable pachyderm tusker, it was almost like a real elephant encounter. The guided walk (climb) turned out to be the best idea because we weren’t really able to do some hard core research about the rock’s history and what not, plus our guide was really good to be fair.
The moat, the ancient masonry and the unbelievably still functioning water works reminded us of Angkor. The place silenced us down to dumbness, and it was not just because of the scare of tetanus coated rickety scaffoldings and impeding attacks of killer bees, but of the site’s strong presence.
Now take a look at these:
The 1930’s vintage wrought iron staircase…
… 8th century mirror and graffiti wall …
… some sinful private pool …
… an iconic entrance gate …
… an amazing view from the top ….
…and the pictures of half naked women up the walls!
Now let me ask you–How sure are we that this is not one of Hugh Hefner playboy mansions?!
The royal bastard Kasyapa, or whoever made this fortress must have some major grandiosity issues to pull it off. We climbed up and spent a surreal moment on top of the world famous rock deep in to the heart of Sri Lanka, right smack in the middle of the Indian Ocean!
And we couldn’t think of a better and more flawless way to close the summer season 2011.
We are so ROCKIN’ this!