Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 70

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Sigiriya
The Sigiriya Rock is also a part of the Triangle and considered a
marvel of 5th century AD as a World Heritage Site. Hieroglyphs
suggest that the rock was occupied from very early times, long before
the fortress was ever built. The vast flat-topped, 200m tall, Lion
Rock, towers above the surrounding countryside with magnificent
views of the Dry Zone and Central Highlands. It gets its name from
the lions that were believed to occupy the caves. Sigirya includes the
rock fortress with its palace, famous frescoes, the extensive grounds
and the moat that surrounds the site. This story of King Kasyapa in
his Royal Citadel (477 to 495 AD) comes alive when you imagine that
he lived here in hiding, surrounded by an impressive wall, double
moats and his damsels. The ancient historic epic, the Mahavanasa,
records that King Kasyapa killed his father to gain the throne and
after that lived in fear that his half-brother, who had taken refuge in
India, would return to kill him. He did come back after 18 years, to
find that Kashyapa had built a pleasure palace and massive fortress.
It is recorded that Kasyapa came down from the top of the rock to
face his half-brother’s army on elephant back. The story ends when
Kasyapa, mistakenly thinking he has been abandoned, kills himself
with his own dagger.
The area within the Triangle remains thinly populated and
large areas are given over to national parks. It is a beautiful
region and you can see elephants out in the wild. You will
certainly see monkeys and birds of all descriptions, reptiles,
snakes, lizards, and various other fauna. For a safari trip
you can go leopard spotting in Wilpattu or enjoy the richly
varied landscapes at Wasgomuwa. To see elephants in their
natural habitat, we would take a great short safari to either
Miniriya or Kandulla. These elephant-packed national parks
are extremely popular and loved by Sri Lankans. You can
be a part of the famous ‘Gathering’ as elephants from the
Somawathi Sanctuary, Kantale and Wasgamuwa make their
annual trip across the land in search of water. Their usual
destination is the Minneriya Tank, which always has water.
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