What guides say:- The rock fortress of Sigriya stands strong at 660 feet altitude and is located in the heart of the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka.It is a UNESCO world heritage site and derives its name from Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The history of inhabiting this palace garden goes till 3rd century BC and is a wonder of the ancient world.It served as a Buddhist monastery for ages and was later chosen by King Kasyapa for constructing his royal residence after he pushed away his father & brother in the greed of the royal throne.
It was later abandoned after the king’s death or alleged suicide when his brother, the rightful owner to the throne returned & sources say that the Buddhist monks again took over the fortress & nearby areas. There are plenty of murals & frescoes in this igneous rock citadel out of which 18 are in sound shape & colour. A cyclone had hit the Sigriya fortress in 1978 and refurbishment work has taken place since then to restore Sigriya to its lost grandeur.
What I observed as a civil engineer:- The area around the Sigriya fortress can be boasted to be one of the best maintained sites of the ancient world in urban planning arena. Its surprising that the aqueduct system works in this era also. The water gardens are one of the best & oldest landscapes existing till date. It is needless to say that it is a marvel architecture & one cannot miss out on the surface & underground hydraulic system still functioning today.
The nature-lover’s perspective:- Apart from the citadel, the panaromic view that Sigriya has to offer is worthy enough to be counted as a wonder of the modern world too. Amazing rock cut structures, some nature bestowed & some carved out of human hands truly speaks about the developed Ancient Sinhalese civilisation. The greenery around was soothing inspite of the fact that the upper part of the fortress is wasp infested & we could not visit the summit because of an uninvited wasp attack.
From the hypnotising sound of the ‘been’ or the ‘pungi’ till the reptile-lover in me was almost squeezed by the 12-14 kg odd weighing python, Sigriya was worth every penny & second of it. The Sigriyan snake-charmers play a tune akin to their Indian counterpart & their sleight of hand movements not only charmed the hooded King Cobra but also encouraged horrifying hisses from it as well. Although the snake -charmer comforted us by saying that the fangs have been removed, yet the you-never-know feeling kept us enticed throughout.
I am not a keen herpetologist but during the last few Summers I have spent under the sun,I have developed an intense sense of touch for these reptiles.The Indian Python is a beautiful creation & this was the second time I held one in my hands just that it was a little heavier this time & a little more active than its Thailand counterpart.You can watch 👇🏼
Snake charming at Sigriya for a feel of this cold coiler on your shoulders.
The silhouette of Sigriya is a dash of Sinhalese architecture compounded with Buddhist mysticism & hypnotic snake charming adventure!It must be on your bucket-list👍