Sigiriya, A tribute to Great King Kashyapa
|By : Dinesh Deckker|
|Contact the Author : email@example.com | 0716- 818740|
|Year & Month||Number of Days||Crew||Weather||Transport|
|Back of Beyond Dehigaha Ela
|Travel Tips, Travel Notes and Special remarks|
This travelogue is dedicated to Great King Kashayapa who constructed this miracle and to H.C.P Bell the gentlemen who re-discovered Sigiriya.
I would first like to thank the Archeological Department Staff and Cultural Triangle staff stationed there, although there are pros and cons of some work I must thank them as I could never even think of doing a job like that. Some maintenance jobs are so risky and it’s simply a matter of life and death. In 1831 Major Jonathan Forbes of the 78th Highlanders of the British Army while returning on horseback from a trip to Polonnaruwa is reported to have come across the “bush covered summit of Sigiriya”.
I my self last visited Sigiriya 11 years ago and I planned to visit the site many times, yet failed. The event organized by lakdasun.org to climb Pidurangala was tempting for me and my wife as we really wanted to explore Sigiriya.
We began our journey from Kadawatha and on our way we visited few other places and it was almost 11AM when we reached to our destination. My travel partner Nirmal and my self wanted to get the best view of Sigiriya so we traveled to “Thalkote Wewa”. From there we were able to get the best view of both Sigiriya and Pidurangala.
We were able to see mirror wall, stairway to fresco’s and the stairway to the top clearly from that location.
Then we walked more than 1 ½ KM to come to Sigiriya entrance. On our way we stopped at a shop had watermelon which helped us to prevent getting dehydrated. By the way it is not recommended to eat while walking through the small forest before Sigiriya as monkeys might attack you and it had happened earlier. There were warning boards, which most doesn’t care…
In fact Sigiriya was a rock shelter mountain monastery from 5BC and King Kashayapa constructed caves for Buddhist Sangha in Pidurangala before occupying Sigiriya which was noble. After King Kashyapa’s death in 495AD, bikku’s occupied the Sigiriya and it was a monastery complex up to 14th century. As we walking along the garden section of Sigiriya we could see the architectural miracles of our ancestors. The gardens were divided in to three categories water gardens, Cave and boulder gardens, and terraced gardens but all linked together.
King Kassapa | Kashyapa
Although King Kashyapa was labeled as a killer, according to Mahawamsa it is said that Dhatusena’s daughter was married to his sister’s son Migara and the general of his army. Following an argument between his daughter and sister, Dhatusena ordered his sister (Migaras’ Mother) to be killed. In reprisal, Migara encouraged and assisted Kassapa to overthrow the king and take the throne. Kassapa eventually rebelled against Dhatusena and overthrew him. Dhatusena was imprisoned and Kassapa became the king of the country in 473.
While observing the greatness, we never forgot to clarify the facts as much as possible from the officers stationed there. They are willing to help, but nobody ask them anything. We moved forward and some steps were slippery, so we had to be careful when climbing.
Mirror wall used as a mirror, so well polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it. Made of a kind of porcelain, the wall is now partially covered with verses scribbled by visitors to the rock. Well preserved, the mirror wall has verses dating from the 8th century. People of all types wrote on the wall, on varying subjects such as love, irony, and experiences of all sorts.
It was a very big news item that Sigiriya frescos were damaged by some kind insect and it happened after destroying wasps. But it was a lie. We compared the facts and information and it proved to be a misuse of media. The Sigiriya frescos is covered by a protected net and even a fly cant get inside so how am I to believe that Wasps come inside to eat the insect destroying Sigiriya paintings.
What happened was Archeological dept applied Distilled water on a painting which was already damaged during paint attack to remove the paint stains but it didn’t work and some minor damage has been done.
We studied the paintings more than 20 minutes and many people came through but they didn’t ask a single word from the officer in charge. Remember always get information from the respected people and compare information and educate your self. It is better to learn something rather that just visiting the paintings. The stairway to the frescos was done by H.C.P Bell renowned archeologist.
Some interpreted the paintings as celestial maidens going to worship Pindurangala. Some as the images of 500 wives King Kassapa had. What ever the interpretation is all the women in paintings are different and the fact is they are facing Pidurangala.
According to the information we got from the officer in charge in Sigiriya cave, the Sigiriya rock was fully plastered in white and was painted fully. Most of the pictures were painted on the western side of the rock bed and it is said King Kashyapa enjoyed the reflection of the paintings when the sun sets on his water garden. It happened to be believable as we saw the remaining of some paintings just outside the cave. The other paintings and the plaster might have destroyed by the forces of nature. As cave is protected from rain it was protected.
We hurried back as we were hungry. We used a different route to descend and it was very easy compared to the ascending route. There are some metal hooks engraved into the Sigiriya rock bed. Have you all ever noticed?
It was confusing my mind and finally we educate our self on that. The hooks were used to create a platform when they were constructing the Spiral stairway to frescos and also still use those to create platform for maintenance. I believe I have stated earlier that the Archeological dept and Cultural Triangle doing a great service to our country by preserving and doing maintenance on Sigiriya. The below picture shows a platform used to do the maintenance below mirror wall. Can you work on that?? I can’t…
If you your vehicle need any repair or to change tires there is a garage close by “Gayan Morters” and their service is excellent if you miss this one you will need to go to Dambulla to repair..
Accommodation – Back of Beyond – Dehigaha Ela Eco Retreat
Back of Beyond is located few kilometers away from utmost important tourist attraction, the 8th wonder of the world Sigiriya and scenic and ancient important archeological site Pindurangala. You can reach the property both from Sigiriya and Dambulla.
I must say, Back of Beyond – Dehigaha Ela was a unique experience for me and my wife. We stayed on a tree house and it was great! The most important fact is the Kirioya which starts from Nuwaragala and Dehiga Ela meets in the backyard of the property and it continues flowing to Minneriya Lake. This is a paradise for an eco traveler and who is interested in bird watching and the experienced in house Naturalist can guide you on bird watching. Also resort can arrange a tour with an experienced guide to visit Sigiriya, Pindurangala and Nuwaragala (the castle of King Mahasen).
By the way food was delicious and traditional, of course it’s tasty and we loved it… Altogether there are 2 cottages and 2 tree houses which can accommodate up to 25 people easily.
So go and experience… I can assure you that it will be a new experience for you…
Have a Safe Journey!