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Sigiriya & Kaudulla National Park, Sri Lanka

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Our host in Anuradhapura drove us to our next stop, Sigiriya and on the way we wanted to take a look at Dambulla Royal Cave Temple. It's a World Heritage Site and is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. An impressive sight with some great views and a good way to break up the trip.

Sigiriya is home to ruins of a 5th-century city and is one of those places that that takes your breath away. From a distance it's impressive, but once you explore it up close, the more amazing it gets.

Sigiriya rock is an ancient rock fortress about 30 minutes drive from Dambulla in Sri Lanka's Central Province. It's a huge column of sheer rock that soars vertically out of the ground to nearly 200 metres in height, formed from magma from an extinct volcano. It;s surrounded by relatively flat planes and therefore is visible from miles away.

The area is surrounded by an extensive network of fortifications, vast gardens, ponds, canals, alleys, cave shrines and fountains. In addition to that, is remnants of a ruined palace and an ancient civilisation on top of the rock itself.

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We arrived at the area early and as we were unaware of the extent of the ruins on top of the rock, were in for a treat. The top is accessed via a range of staircases attached to sheer walls to get to the top. On top lies the king’s upper palace which is vast and had of dozens of rooms, a hydraulic 'air conditioning system' that used water that was pumped up from a lake into the gardens under ground. The view from the top of the palace is incredible with the ability to see out into the lush green landscape in every direction.

We stayed at 'Sigiri Thilanka Rest' which was about 10-15 mins walk into the nearby town, well priced, clean and a friendly host. The town itself is small and has some pretty good food options for travellers. We ate at a few places including Chooti, which served up great curry and rotti bread.

Whilst in the area, we also did a day trip to Kaudulla National Park, a fantastic place that is home to over 200 elephants, monkeys, crocodiles and some leopards. We saw just about all of the 200 elephants as they were feeding and traipsing through the lake. It was quite stormy too which added to the experience.

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Posted by TheNomadWay.com 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka

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