Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Trip to Sri Lanka - Day 2(Sigiriya)

Story Board:

The plan - Day 1 (Flight and Dambulla) - Day 2 (Sigiriya) - Day 3 (Kandy) - Day 4 and 5 (Colombo Beach)

The Photo Album -> Link


The Sigiriya Rock:

We got up early in the morning finished break fast (Hardly got anything to eat. We ate bread-butter-jam and some fruit juice) and started to Sigiriya Rock by 8:30 AM. Rock is really hard to climb, its around 1000 ft high with 1200 steps. It was called Simha Giri - which means Lion Rock. You can see that it is in the shape of Lion Sitting.

The Story:

King Kashyapa built the entire fort and palace at Sigiriya around 1500 years back. Kashyapa's father had two wives, one from King's family and other was a keep. Kashyapa was keep's son. As a rule, Kingdom was given to Kashyapa's brother who belonged to King's family. Furious Kashyapa killed his own father and ran away towards Sigiriya and built this fort cum palace. He taken all the security measures to defend enemy attacks. It is believed that he lived for 18 years there and at the end, faced his brother on the battle field and he was on his elephant. For some reason his elephant turned towards right and the whole army thought that they have to move right towards Sigiriya and they ran off the battle field. Without any support King Kashyapa committed suicide.

Sigiriya has 2 palaces, one at the ground level, called Summer palace and other one on the top of this rock called Winter palace. King Kashyapa had 500 women servants. He painted each of their images on the walls of caves with natural paint. Currently only around 18 are remaining and rest have been destroyed either naturally or by Buddhist Monks. After King Kashyapa this area was occupied by Buddhists Monks who did not like women paintings and they destroyed most of them.

King had 3 gardens. One at the bottom called green garden, second in the mid height called boulder garden and the third at the top called Terrace garden. Excavations have been done by Unesco in 1982 and few minor re-constructions have been  done. An amazing historical place to visit in Sri Lanka

Palace had 2 boulder entrances. It has got 2 reasons - One - For security, enemies can not attach with a mob, they have to enter one-by-one. This would be helpful for defenders to kill enemies. Two - It symbolizes performing "namaste" in two hands for the guests.

In the boulder garden, for the security purpose he had built boulder walls without cementing it and around them built the brick walls. So even if enemies broke brick walls, boulders would automatically fall on them, thus it was auto defense mechanism

Fresco Paintings:

After climbing around 1000 steps, we get spiral steps, climbing which we reach a cave where we can see beautiful fresco paintings.

Can't believe they are 1500 years old. Paints have been prepared using natural ingredients, that once painted could not be erased, not even by painter himself. There were some minor human errors during paintings which are still visible. Paint would have absorbed so well into the plaster they prepared over the rocky walls. Excellent technology at that age

The Lion's Paw:

After fresco painting we reached a platform kind of place called Lion's paw. There are 2 paws of Lion which is the actual entrance of Terrace Palace. There was the head of Lion also constructed using bricks, but due to natural calamities, that has been ruined.

Palace at the top

We reached the top and by that time we were dead tired. There are swimming pools of that time and ruined foundations of the palace. The view from the top is breath taking

Last 2 steps of Sigiriya rock

Waters in these swimming pools were all connected and used for pumping up the water from Sigirya lake to the top of rock.

Woow.. you can see white Buddha's statue far from Sigiriya rock. You can also see the path way down, we walked to reach the bottom of Sigiriya rock.

Elephant ride

After climbing down from Sigiriya rock, we were on the way to Kandy and found an elephant ride. We decided to take elephant ride for 2000 LKR :-)

Elephant's name was Monica and it was 25 Year young elephant. It eats 250 KG per day.

On the way to Kandy - Batiks

After elephant ride, we started towards Kandy, which was around 3 Hrs journey. On the way we saw Batiks, where

cotton clothes are colored in a very different manner. All the steps are shown on this picture. Initially they take white cotton cloth and artist will mark the design on it. Apply liquid wax on those areas where they want to retain white and let it dry. Later they dip in next lighter color of the frame, in above example, it is yellow. Then apply wax on those parts of cloths which they want to retain yellow (Elephant) and dip into next lighter color (i.e. red) and so on. The entire process would take tens of days. Its tough job

Artist drawing the design

Applying the wax

Dipping in color


We also dressed in Sri Lankan Attire

Dressing my thimmi

Posing for a click

The Photo Album -> Link

The story Continues..

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