Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sri Lanka - Part I

February 2012, I went to Sri Lanka for a week long trip - with a company of one of my very good friends. I have a very good Sri Lankan colleague, he helped us to decide our itinerary and also offered his cousin as our tour guide. 

Tour map
One fine evening we took-off from Abu Dhabi airport. The flight was a great disappointment. We booked our ticked in Etihad, later we came to know that the flight is operated by Sri Lankan airways - that was fine. But the plane was 3+3 tiny domestic one (I don't remember the airbus model number) - very limited space was there for cabin baggage. Majority of the passengers were forced to put their baggage at their foot-space - so we. After that we hardly had any breathing space. At the end of 5 hours flight our body was in trouble. 

Anyways, our humble guide Roshen was in the airport on time with a good Honda car. We started our journey from Colombo Bandaranaike international airport, destination Sigiriya.

Day 01: SIGIRIYA - The Lion Rock

After reaching Sigiriya in the late morning, we took a shower in the hotel and went out to explore the Lion rock.

Sigiriya is a unique landscape city, created in the 5th century by King Kashyapa embracing a 200 m rock out crop and its surrounding with nature driven architecture composed of buildings, pathways, terraces, ponds, fountains, paintings and sculpture. There are more than 1000 hand written poems on the mirror wall written by visitors to Sigiriya from 7th to 14th century. The UNESCO declared this a World Heritage site in 1982.

Site map of World Heritage city of Sigiriya
Canal surrounding the Lion rock
The canal was made for security purposes. Till date, there are crocodiles in the canal.

The Water garden
Description of the Water garden
The Lion rock
If you notice the Lion rock carefully, you will observe that the rock was sculpted in a shape of a Lion. The left side of the rock is the face of the Lion. More clearly visible in the below snap:

The Lion rock
Access road to the top of  the Lion rock
The Mirror wall (brown color, plain surface) and access stairs to the top
The Mirror wall was designed to reflect light and to protect the city. The shine due to well polish of the wall now almost gone, still if you observe carefully (in practical) - you will see it. 

Description of the Mirror wall
Paintings in gallery behind the Mirror wall
The whole face of the rock (behind the Mirror wall) appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery. The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, covering an area 140 m long and 40 m high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, many more are lost forever, having been wiped out when the Palace once more became a monastery − so that they would not disturb meditation.

Paintings in gallery behind the Mirror wall
View of Sigiriya city from the Mirror wall gallery
The tall Buddha statue in the above image was far away from the Lion rock. I utilized my lens's full zoom to achieve this.

Lion's Paw terrace
Description of the Lion's Paw terrace
In the Lion's Paw terrace, you can notice the front feet of the Lion. From there the stairs will lead you to the top of the Lion rock - where gardens and palaces are there. We were too tired to climb further. I know - it was stupid not to see what's there after going there. May be next time.

After Lion rock visit, we had an delicious lunch in a nearby restaurant. We were so hungry that there was no time for capturing images (actually that was the case every day). If you have a little bit attraction to spices and spicy food then take my words - food will be the numero uno item which you will enjoy the most in Sri Lanka. Atleast, that was the case with us.

See high resolution images of my Sri lanka trip here in Flickr.

See other parts of my Sri Lanka trip:
Sri Lanka - Part II
Sri Lanka - Part III
Sri Lanka - Part IV
Sri Lanka - Part V
Sri Lanka - Part VI

Please feel free to comment. All comments (criticisms & appraisals) are welcome. Please do not reproduce the images for commercial purposes without prior permission.

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