Asia  | 13/08/2014

SIGIRIYA, Kings Residence

It is not surprising that the beautiful cliff that rises proudly over the vast plain of Sigiriya, in central Sri Lanka, caught the attention of the young prince Kassapa. After killing his father and fearing attack by his brother, the legitimate heir to the throne, Kassapa sought an impregnable place to install his new palace.

The rock walls drops vertically more than two hundred meters, with no natural access, so building a palace on the summit with the means available in the V century was a titanic work. It is worth spending time exploring the grounds and the remains of historic buildings surrounding the rock.

The climb is difficult, but it is worth the effort to see the exquisite frescoes that are still preserved on the wall. A few hundred meters from the ground in a natural cleft, accessed by a long winding staircase, there are a number of fine paintings, probably inspired by the Ajanta caves, but with brighter colors and more pagan patterns. In fact, all figures represents naked female torsos.

From the frescoes gallery, you have a comfortable climb on a  transversal ladder, defended by a wall, which leads to a terrace. Here you can see the huge claws of the lion embracing the stairs to the top. In days of Kassapa it would have been a very remarkable brick structure, covered with stucco, and  easy to defend in case of attack. Today it is almost totally demolished, but we can clearly distinguish the claws and the start of the steps. The rest is a vertical wall, so we need to climb a makeshift zigzagging metal ladder to the summit.

At the top, the terrain irregularities are taken advantage of,  with numerous terraces that housed gardens, houses and swimming pools carved into the rock. Everything  is in ruins, but the foundations reveal perfectly the situation of each building. At the top, a rectangle of land, clearly marks the site of the royal palace, enjoying a magnificent view of the plain that extends, seemingly endless, and appearing to be so close to heaven.



El Elefante de SUDAFRICA

Agosto 2017

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