February 11, 2016

Sigiriya. Monastery turned fortress/palace turned monastery –1,200 stairs of which I did several twice (don’t ask) and I have to wonder, how athletic were the monks and courtiers who did this multiple times a day? Or did they just lower baskets down for their groceries? Then I end up wondering about how they found footholds to paint these beautiful (very non-celibate) pictures on the sheer rock face.

Clockwise from the right:

the final narrow gangway to the very top at the Lion’s Paws gate where a giant lion must have knelt — I’d bet the entrance was through its jaws; the view of the path we came up looking such a long wan down; and us at the pinnacle with the reservoir behind us in the four-acre foundations of the 1,500 room, five-storeyed palace complex ruins.


Anyway, so, so worth the climb and really not as hard as people made us believe. My mother and aunt with their dodgy knees made it to the top. I, of course, made it to the top — *and halfway up and down* TWICE! (Long story. Breathless, too. I think I clambered back to the ground, the second time, in maybe 6 minutes flat.)
Now we’re stepified (an Achla joke).

The ascent was breathtaking. And it really was quite a thrill to have made it up such a daunting incline with my weak-kneed companions and then ūüėČ with many stops along the way. We got there are about 9:30 a.m. and still faced so many human traffic jams up the narrow stairs. It was pretty hot and thirsty work, so I’d advise an even earlier start. Crowds thinned out around 11:30 when it got super hot, but you definitely don’t want to be out then.

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