Planning a visit to Sri Lanka? Then the mighty citadel is a must see on your trip to this wonderful island. This crown of the citadel is huge rock where a massive palace was built a long time ago, when kings ruled and watched over the country from its massive and vantage point, atop this rock. It is more that 200 meters in its height and can be seen far and wide across the vicinity. It is situated in the Dambulla.
The massive gardens are full with ponds, and water irrigation and water pumping skills that irrigated the water in the most systematic ways so that every nook and corner got it fair share of water during the hot season and the normal days. There the remains of the bathing pavilions, boulders which were made into a sitting area, conference area, where the kings and queens and the many people who worked for him, of course now you can only see a mass work of bricks and stones which is all that remains from the magnificent palace of days gone by. However it is considered to be the country’s heritage and recognized as one the most viewed and sought after ancient monuments in Sri Lanka.
As you enter these royal gardens on the out skirts of Dambulla roadway you enter you feel that you are being transported back in time, as you get to meet the rock at close quarters, you are simply awed by its massiveness and wonder that a whole city was built on this rock, which only the mighty Sinhala Kings had devised and planned. One wonders of the precise timing and planning of this palace in those days when there was no proper tools and machinery or technologies to even draw up a plan, and yet, this mighty palace did sit atop this massive rock and detailed planning went into its surroundings to such an extent that it even had a proper plumbing system! This is ample proof when seen all the various water ponds and canals and culverts you will understand.
As you enter you go across the concrete bridge you see the massive canal which did irrigate water to the county of Dambulla. As you climb up there are more steep stone steps that you have to climb up to until you reach a flat space where this is the grand entrance which leads up to the rock. At the doorway entrance you see the massive paws of a lion, the lion itself is not to be seen as it may have been destroyed through the years, the paws do remain, and it is a sight to behold. It is a bit tiring climbing up these massive boulder like stones all hewn from the ground itself. One wonders how these brick and mortar were carried right to the top, which in those days were built just using hands and may be an elephant or two did help to carry heavy loads up to the rock, from there it would have been all done by man and his skillful hands. The wonder of early man and his skillful craftsman ship of building.
Once you climb right to the summit you are blown away at the panoramic view you get to see just about the whole countryside. It is a sort of a 360 degree view. This was how you could see the enemy come in those days and be ready for the battle!
At the top you can see the last remains of the palace which is all brick stones in certain areas showing the palace hall, rooms, bathing pavilion, where the king sat on his throne etc.
Before you come to the top there is a steel railing and steps which you go up to see famous frescos, drawn on the rock wall of beautiful women. Some have now faded, but there are a few still remaining to be seen. You are not allowed to take pictures here, unless you switch off your flashlight and take it. Go up the stone corridor before going to the top, which is called the mirror passage, there where the visitors entered the palace in those times, it is also said they engraved their names on the mirror wall and wrote ancient writings of scripture on it.
You can buy the tickets at the entrance office, which will be about 4600/- for adults and 50% off for children. There is no charge for locals. If you are coming via the hotel or your tour agent, this will all be done by the agency. So you need not worry yourself or hassle over the buying and booking of same. Touring the lion rock is best done in the early hours of the morning when it is open at 7.00 a.m. it is the best that you go early and finish your tour before the mid day heat comes up. Take a hat and be well covered. One more thing that must be mentioned is, be careful of the wasps when climbing up the rock. Go quietly avoid loud talking and you won’t be stung by a wasp! These are the guardian angels of the fortress.
There are many other historical sites that you can get to see, if you are interested in visiting. There is the Pidurangala rock that you can trek or hike up to where you can get see the beautiful view and its rock surroundings. It will cost you about 30$ which is about rupees 500/= entrance fees.
Other places of interest is the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura and Dambulla all Buddhist sites, where you will find the last of the fallen stones and pillars at these sites. Truly worshiped and by all devotes. This is a much visited place of worship for Buddhists. On your way to these sites you can stop over the Minneriya National Park and watch the elephants at the lake site. All this and much more could be seen if you stay for a couple of days in these areas you will be rewarded with the trip of a lifetime and much memories to take back home.