The Adventure of Climbing Sigiriya-The Lions Rock
Imagine walking on stairs attached to near-vertical walls.
Imagine an immovable rock on one side, and a precipitous drop on the other.
Imagine walking up, up, up over 1200 steps.
Imagine Sigiriya – The Lion Rock
History of Sigiriya Rock
Towering 200 meters above it’s surroundings, Sigiriya is a massive, beautiful rock, that was created from the magma of an extinct volcano. Looking at it today, you would be hard pressed to imagine its eventful and rather violent history.
The ancient city of Sigiriya, was build for King Kasyapa, who killed his father and stole the kingdom from his half brother, the rightful heir. Fearing retribution, King Kasyapa then fled to Sigiriya and established his base on top of Sigiriya Rock. From here he ruled for around 14 years, while his brother, Moggallana was building his army. In the end King Kasyapa left the relative safety of Sigiriya Rock to face his brother head on, and when it became obvious that the king was going to lose, he cut his own throat and Moggallana finally took his rightful place. Although Kasyapa claimed the throne in a brutal manner, he was known to be a very gentle ruler who was very disturbed by the sins he had committed.
Why Visit Sigiriya Rock?
The climb to Sigiriya Rock was unforgettable. In the beginning, we didn’t even expect to make it all the way to the top, with the intense heat, and our average stamina. However, the climb up was so eventful and fun, we were half way through before we knew it!! And then we encouraged and pushed each other to go all the way!
The best part about climbing Sigiriya Rock is, without a doubt, the view. It tantalizes you on the way up with glimpses of the view getting better and better until you reach the top and are left stunned as you spin around seeing miles and miles of greenery, with hills, lakes and the inevitable Buddha statues in the distance.
The climb is also worth it because of the challenge of such a steep climb and adrenaline rush you feel while climbing steps that are sometimes hanging, on the side of such a steep cliff. However, you don’t have to worry, because it is very safe thanks to railings and you are never in any real danger of falling. When you FINALLY reach the top the feeling of accomplishment is extremely satisfying.
On the way up, you get to see some more wonders of Sigiriya Rock, including Frescos, which are paintings that are over 1600 years old, and till today are so well maintained. You will also see the Mirror Wall, which used to be polished so well, that the king could actually see himself in it. Today the wall has faded and is covered by writings from different visitors, dating as far back as the 8th century, and if you look closely, you ca still see a slight shine on the wall. There are also many different types of gardens, including the water gardens and boulder gardens. All in all, you will definitely not get bored on the way up!
Things you will need to visit Sigiriya Rock
- Lots and lots of water
- Snacks for energy
- Comfortable clothes
- Insect repellent
Is It Dangerous to Climb The Lion Rock?
While the climb up does sound and look dangerous, when you are actually climbing up, it doesn’t feel so dangerous. The stairs are either carved in the wood or are modern and sturdy.
The climb is suitable for all ages, and is doable for people with average stamina levels. My 9 year old brother climbed Sigiriya Rock with us and he totally enjoyed it! However, it is not advisable to go all the way up if you have any medical problems that could be aggravated, such as knee or back problems. Also we would not advise anyone with a fear of heights to attempt the climb.
If you have a fear of animals, you may be in for a shock! There are monkeys everywhere, climbing up and down Sigiriya Rock next to the people. Make sure you are not wearing anything shiny or the monkeys are attracted to it! There are also many dogs, but they mainly mind their own business. Also Sigiriya Rock is known to have wasps, however, this was thankfully not an issue for us.