Sigiriya is just the most incredible, unbelievable rock formation I have ever seen (although I know there will be a lot more on this trip). Sure, there is a mountain range in the distance, but everything inbetween is dead flat. Then out of nowhere there is this insane vertical rockface that juts straight out of the green jungle sea. And some bright spark – who just happened to be a royal – decided thousands of years ago to build a temple on top. Incidentally, we saw a painting to say that him and his brother fought to the death on war elephants to claim the rock.
Anyway we’re not on the top of that rock, that rock costs $30 to climb. As I’m writing this we’re on the top of Pidurangala rock, a bigger, just as vertical, version 1km away which costs £1.50 to climb and gives you a stunning view of the other one and all the ant/sheep people that are queuing to climb it.
This Pidurangala rock was a bit more of a handful than Sigiriya looked, although the almost vertical staircases on Sigiriya didn’t look like a picnic either! At first we climbed from the Buddhist temple at the base up the mossy stairs into the forest. There were about a thousand. Ok so it felt like there were a thousand! Past the pillaged lying Buddha, looking half finished, into the trees once more. Following the trodden paths through the boulders, Sophie leading, me apprehensive, dramatically angled slopes dropping off to our left.
As you can see in the pictures, the top of the rock looks like a giant mushroom with rounded edges. The last little leg to the very top of the rock is curious. There isn’t a set path and it seems there are two options. Up some boulders and up a worn area of flat rock at a 45 degree angle – which we didn’t realise was there until we got up to the top – or round a worn path, traversing a crack in the rocks and climbing on a tree branch which was pretty conveniently right angled in a step fashion, and worn from footmarks.
It was well worth the adventure as the views from the top were stunning! We decided to come down the way we came.