A Travellerspoint blog

Sigiraya and the Cultural Triangle

It took around seven hours (three buses and two auto rickhaws) to do the 150 km from Negombo to our guest house in the countryside near Sigiriya in the heart of the "Cultural Triangle" - the area in the north/centre of Sri Lanka where the advanced civilisations of the day had their capitals - rich in archeological sites. The guest house turned out to be a kilometre off the road down a dirt track. The bus had actually dropped us off at the small village a couple of kms further on - which was rather lucky as it had just started to throw it down with rain and we were able to avoid getting completely drenched (and find the guest house) by taking an auto rickshaw.

As can be seen from the photos, the Hideout was a wonderful spot to stay - although it is 15 minutes walk to the road to where you can catch the bus (quite okay if it is not raining and you are not carrying rucksacks - both of which we avoided). Lovely Sri Lankan breakfasts etc in the restaurant upstairs with views of the gardens, pool and surrounding countryside. Lots of bird life including wild peacocks. Only problem - mosquitos in our bathroom! - the discordant sound of at least 50 buzzing around you was rather disconcerting!

We had 4 nights/3 days with three principal sites to see.

Day 1 - Sigiriya: Sigiriya Rock rises sheer out of the plains and towers 200 metres above the surrounding countryside. It was the shortest lived but most extraordinary of Sri Lanka's ancient capitals. "It is a remarkable archeological site made unforgettable by its dramatic setting". It is just a few kilometres away from the guest house (and clearly visible from there). Having walked out to the road we flagged down a bus which turned out to be a school trip for children from Colombo!!! - which took us right to the entrance to the site. It is a wonderful site with a particular highlight being the superb rock paintings of the Damsels (painted in the 5th century) half way up the sheer rock face. Having braved the ascent to the Damsels and on to the Lion Platform, not far below the summit, if you don't suffer from vertigo(!), you can clamber up a metal staircase clinging to the edge of the rock face and have a walk around the top. Great views - although it decided to rain when I was up there. Dambulla: Afterwards, we caught the bus in to Dambulla and headed out to the caves 2 km south of town. Firstly, there is an enormous golden statue of Buddha and then a climb (accompanied by considerable quantities of monkeys) up to the caves. There are 5 caves dating from the 11th century - full of Buddha's - big and small, standing, sitting, reclining, meditating - dimly lit and extremely atmospheric. Not to be missed. Day 2 - mainly at leisure - Alan following peacocks round the gardens to get a good photo and a quick visit to Dambulla town. Day 3: Polonnaruwa: The great ruined city of Polonnaruwa is an impressive and extensive archeological site. We planned to go/return by buses and were a little apprehensive because it was two hours ++ travelling each way, the site at Polonnaruwa is big and the bus does not go directly there. As it happened, we were talking to a Dutch couple (who were on holiday travelling round Sri Lanka with a driver) the night prior to going and they very kindly suggested we join them. This enabled us to experience the visit in a different way from our regular travels and enjoy the day with them. Travelling with a driver certainly makes life easier! Everything worked like clockwork, we first visited the excellent museum, and were then driven to where you hired bicycles to get round the large site and, once we had completed the tour of the site, we stopped off at an out of town restaurant (busy with small tour groups and others travelling with drivers) for an excellent buffet lunch ... and got back to the guest house at a very reasonable hour.

View from our balcony towards Sigiriya

View from our balcony towards Sigiriya


Accommodation block

Accommodation block


Bedroom - mosquito net needed!

Bedroom - mosquito net needed!


View from balcony

View from balcony


Restaurant block

Restaurant block


Pool and garden

Pool and garden


Visiting birdlife

Visiting birdlife


Visiting bird life - taking drink at pool

Visiting bird life - taking drink at pool


Visiting bird life - Just looking ...

Visiting bird life - Just looking ...


Visiting bird life - Peacock

Visiting bird life - Peacock


Sigiriya rock from village

Sigiriya rock from village


Sigiraya rock

Sigiraya rock


Walk to Sigiriya entrance - warning

Walk to Sigiriya entrance - warning


Sigiriya Water Gardens

Sigiriya Water Gardens


Sigiriya Rock - starting the climb ...

Sigiriya Rock - starting the climb ...


Access to the Sigiriya Damsels

Access to the Sigiriya Damsels


Access to the Sigiriya Damsels - closer view

Access to the Sigiriya Damsels - closer view


Sigiriya Damsels 1

Sigiriya Damsels 1


Sigiriya Damsels 2

Sigiriya Damsels 2


Sigiriya Damsels 3

Sigiriya Damsels 3


Sigiriya Damsels 4

Sigiriya Damsels 4


Sigiriya Damsels 5

Sigiriya Damsels 5


Sigiriya Damsels 6

Sigiriya Damsels 6


Watch out Lindsey!

Watch out Lindsey!


Sigiriya - Final climb to the top

Sigiriya - Final climb to the top


Top of Sigiriya rock 1

Top of Sigiriya rock 1


Top of Sigiriya rock 2

Top of Sigiriya rock 2


Top of Sigiriya rock 3

Top of Sigiriya rock 3


Water gardens from top of Sigiriya rock 1

Water gardens from top of Sigiriya rock 1


View from top of Sigiriya rock

View from top of Sigiriya rock


Sigiriya - Monkeys by the exit

Sigiriya - Monkeys by the exit


Bus from Sigiriya to Dambulla

Bus from Sigiriya to Dambulla


Dambulla - Golden Buddha

Dambulla - Golden Buddha


Dambulla - Golden Buddha 2

Dambulla - Golden Buddha 2


Way up to Dambulla - careful with the monkeys!

Way up to Dambulla - careful with the monkeys!


Dambulla caves exterior

Dambulla caves exterior


Dambulla caves exterior 2

Dambulla caves exterior 2


Dambulla 1

Dambulla 1


Dambulla 2

Dambulla 2


Dambulla 3

Dambulla 3


Dambulla 4

Dambulla 4


Dambulla 5

Dambulla 5


Dambulla 6

Dambulla 6


Dambulla 7

Dambulla 7


Dambulla 8

Dambulla 8


Polonnaruwa - Citadel 1

Polonnaruwa - Citadel 1


Polonnaruwa - Citadel 2

Polonnaruwa - Citadel 2


bikes

bikes


Polonnaruwa - Hatadage

Polonnaruwa - Hatadage


Polonnaruwa - Vatadage 2

Polonnaruwa - Vatadage 2


Polonnaruwa - Vatadage - half moon entry stone

Polonnaruwa - Vatadage - half moon entry stone


Polonnaruwa - Vatadage

Polonnaruwa - Vatadage


Polonnaruwa - Vatadage 2

Polonnaruwa - Vatadage 2


Polonnaruwa - Vatadage 3

Polonnaruwa - Vatadage 3


Polonnaruwa - Quadrangle

Polonnaruwa - Quadrangle


Polonnaruwa - Atadage

Polonnaruwa - Atadage


Polonnaruwa - Atadage 2

Polonnaruwa - Atadage 2


Polonnaruwa - Stupa

Polonnaruwa - Stupa


Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 1

Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 1


Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 2

Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 2


Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 3

Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 3


Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 4

Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 4


Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara visitors

Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara visitors


Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 5

Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 5


Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 6

Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 6


Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 7

Polonnaruwa - Gal Vihara 7

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka

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