Cave Temples and Lion Rock

Trip Start Dec 23, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, February 7, 2010

Today we left Harabana early to hit the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya.  It was a very overcast day,
so photos were rough going.  Sigiriya is basically a humongous rock, upon which a fortress was
built long ago, 5th century AD, by the King as protection from his brother, who he supposedly
stole the throne from.  Seems he thought it was so imposing that it would deter any attack...and one can see why.  It is also officially the 157th  "Eighth Wonder of the World" that I have encountered while traveling...seems every place believes they have the one spot that just missed big 7 list!  Anyways, it is a looooong climb up to the top, but there are some magnificently preserved frescoes on the rock walls showing the Kings harem of Indian, Sri Lankan, Cambodian, etc. women.  After the frescoes you eventually reach the lion gateway.  Though all that remains now are the giant paws, apparently, the only way to ascend the fortress is thorugh this passageway that once was a full-blown lion requiring you to enter though its jaws and teeth!  At the top, you can look around the crumbled walls, see the vast water gardens, both atop and surrounding the rock, and try to imagine the greatness the place once held.  Too bad the weather wasn't better. 

After the long descent, we headed for Dambulla, a cave temple complex from around 1BC filled with Buddha statues (including a 47 ft recling Buddha), wall-to-wall murals (over 20,000 sq ft, making it the largest antique painted surface in the world), and pre-Christian rock inscriptions.  Then it was off for a few days in the mountain town of Kandy!
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Daisy on

You're so cool - I wish I was able to experience some of the amazing sites you visit. Thanks so much for the latest post card; we received it some time ago - you're so sweet to think of us while traveling! Love getting them! Hugs!

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