The funniest bus journey of our year away

Sigiriya Travel Blog

 › entry 36 of 37 › view all entries
Me by one of the lion's paws

We visited Sigiriya as a day excursion from Dambulla. It's only a relatively short bus journey to get there. The bus journey on the way back was particularly entertaining, however.

Sigiriya is a huge rock which was the site of an old palace and fortress. It's an amazing place: the rock is just sitting there in the middle of some predominantly flat land. Very unusual, and you can see why they chose it for building a fortress. It's a bit of a mystery to me how they ever managed to climb it, however. Today there are slightly scary iron staircases which take you up the rock. It's actually not too bad, but I'm not great with heights. I still got up, though.

The two things for which Sigiriya is most famous are the Lion Gate and the Damsels.

The rock at Sigiriya
The Lion Gate these days consists only of two very large lion's paws, one either side of the staircase leading from a point part way up the rock to the palace at the top. Apparently in the old days there was a whole lion here, and you had to pass through the mouth of the lion to ascend the stairs. The size of the paws which remain gives you an idea of how large it must have been. The Damsels are a series of paintings of (scantily clad) women which a painted directly onto the rock, in a position which today is accessible only by a metal spiral staircase which is bolted to the side of the rock. I'm not sure how access to them would have been achieved in the past.

At the foot of the rock there are some water gardens, which are laid out along the approach to the rock. You get a good view of the gardens from the palace at the top.

One of the damsels

The bus journey back was in many ways the most entertaining part of the day. We managed to emerge from the site at the same time as the local school was closing, and the bus we'd boarded got fuller and fuller with school children, to the point that we couldn't quite believe how many had fitted on. By the time the bus was at its fullest there were at least five people hanging onto the outside of the doorway. It took ages to get passengers off whenever the bus stopped, because the whole thing had to be emptied and reloaded, in order to let people at the back get off. To round off the whole spectacle, one of the passengers was a man in handcuffs accompanied by two policemen.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Me by one of the lions paws
Me by one of the lion's paws
The rock at Sigiriya
The rock at Sigiriya
One of the damsels
One of the damsels
Damsel frescoes
Damsel frescoes
Climbing the rock
Climbing the rock
Climbing the rock
Climbing the rock
Remains of the palace on the rock
Remains of the palace on the rock
View of the gardens from part way …
View of the gardens from part way…
Sigiriya
photo by: Vlindeke