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Sigiriya, Sri Lanka


The jungle in central Sri Lanka is thick and lush. Back in 1831, Major Jonathan Forbes of the 78th Highlanders of the British Army, was having trouble hacking his way through on horseback. But as he emerged, he came across an astonishing sight. It was the "bush-covered summit of Sigiriya" adorned with brightly colored frescoes that looked as if they had just been painted. Forbes had rediscovered a mythical city that had lain abandoned since the 14th century.



Sigiriya means lion and you can still see the huge lion entrance – sadly missing its head. The city was constructed on a rocky outcrop 650 feet (200m) above the jungle, initially as a 3rd century BC Buddhist monastery. Then 800 years later, King Kasyapa built an opulent palace there and covered it in frescoes. The palace was surrounded by gardens, pools and a mirrored wall that was polished so brightly the king could see his face in it.



It takes up to an hour to climb the 1,200 steps to the top of the rock, but you will be rewarded with the sight of the Sky Palace surrounded by amazing gardens, pools and moats plus colorful frescoes. Called by some the Eighth Wonder of the World, UNESCO recognized Sigirya as a World Heritage Site in 1982.

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Travel Gallery: Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
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