Recently, I went on a holiday to Sri Lanka. While planning the getaway, I chose easily accessible, interesting places that even my 12-year-old daughter could enjoy. So it was a very ordinary itinerary that included some sight-seeing, a little shopping and a whole lot of relaxing as it was, after all, a holiday. However, suggestions not to miss the must-see places kept pouring in from those who had visited Sri Lanka. One among them was Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considered one among the modern wonders of the world, Sigiriya sounded like a place we wouldn’t want to miss. My cousin, who was accompanying us on this trip, added it to the itinerary, as an after-thought.
While at the hotel, I did some research. Sigiriya was a huge rock, 200 metres high, in the shape of a sitting lion and you had to climb to its head to get a bird’s eye-view of the entire island. Although I learned some fascinating things about Sigiriya, my mind was stuck on the rock’s height. Being the unfit, non-athletic person that I am, from that very moment, I decided I wouldn’t be able to scale it to the top. At best, I’d climb a few steps and then wait somewhere, in case my travel companions wanted to continue the ascent.
We could see the rock from our hotel room and each time I saw it, it looked a little more majestic. But the day before our trek to Sigiriya, my daughter fell sick due to an ill-timed heat stroke. We decided to let her rest at the hotel, while we went to the rock fortress. When I reached the gates of the rock and paid for the tickets, I had no idea what I was going to do there. Suddenly, a man in his 60s, walked up to us asking if we needed a guide. After some hesitation and haggling, we agreed to hire him.
Sigiriya was carved into a fortress by the king of Sri Lanka, Kashyapa I around 475 CE