Sri Lanka : Sigiriya, Dambulla Caves

We checked out the hotel and left for Kandy. On the way to Kandy we went to Sigiriya. I read many reviews about Sigiriya and was scared if I will be able to climb the rock as already I was tired from the Pollonaruwa visit. I am basically not a very sporty person who can climb 1000 steps. We went through Minneriya National Park. We never visited Minneriya National Park as it was not part of our itinerary. But it is mostly elephants and our driver told us that we could see them sometimes on the way.
At Sigiriya, we again got 50% discount on the entry fees! Just show your passports as proof. The ticket cost is 30$ person for foreign tourists, 15$ for SAARC Residents. After walking through the gardens, water canals ,  we reached the beginning of the stair case. Initially just for a few steps, I felt very exhausted. Seeing up the hill, I thought I will be taking many breaks to catch my breadth. But the initial steps are made of stone and are quite irregular and climbing needs carefulness. Once you reach the metal stair case, it’s really easy to climb , also when there is a crowd that is moving slowly you need to climb at a slow pace too making the climb easier. First you visit the paintings on the mirror wall. The paintings are great, but the mirror wall not so fascinating. Then you continue climbing to reach the Lion’s Paw. I was of the impression, Lion’s Paw was the summit. But no, there was more to climb from Lion’s Paw. We took some break from climbing and clicked few pictures. Then started climbing further up!
People with vertigo and fear of heights, please don’t look down while climbing... I saw few people who were crying due to vertigo. After climbing, you see a small town on top including swimming pool,throne, palace. It’s so amazing to see how the King Kasyapa built this fort on the top of a rock in those days with no machines. The prince built this rock fort to hide from his brother as he killed his own father!The King  shifted the capital from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya.

Then we climbed down and went through the exit after seeing the cobra head , resting place for monks, natural arches formed by rocks and different halls! We also visited the museum at the entrance.

Also visited Dambulla cave temples! Climbing up this temple  was even more difficult than Sigiriya. Probably because no queue! We just have to climb uphill and  in some stretches there are no steps so climbing uphill becomes even more strenuous! After many many breaks we reached the temple! The temple has  5 halls and each hall has so many (130)Buddha idols and paintings on ceilings. There is a peepul tree and Lord Muruga temple.After visiting the temple we climbed down. There is a museum down and it’s not free.The temple entrance is free.

Then we went to a spice garden- Universal Spice Garden on the way. Since they serve lunch (cheap price compared to all that we have had till date), we had lunch there. Lunch was 750 LKR +10% Service charges per person.Then we were taken around spice garden and explained all about their products, trees and the different plants. We then got to taste their spice tea too. We bought few packets of spice tea, 1 packet cost  500 lkr and left!The products were too costly.
Our driver was so good, that he stopped in many places that were not part of the itinerary. He also took us to another Buddha temple-Alu viharaya-Rock cave temple! We went in for free but later a person was asking for entry fees from another tourist! Not sure if it’s just a way of fraud!    There are caves with paintings and Buddha statues. Then you climb a small rock and then see a Buddha statue far away.People were worshipping this  Buddha statue from  the top of the temple.After going around the temple we left.

We then went to a Muthu Mariamman  Tamil temple on the way! It had entry fees but they spoke to us in Tamil and said we can enter for free. The temple was really good.Hindus must visit!After a good prayer, we left!

We left to Kandy! We checked into Topaz hotel there. Then we had dinner at the hotel itself! Dinner was a set meal -Rice, 4 curries for 2 persons at 1800 LKR.