n weiter Ferne schimmert die Shilouette des riesigen Felsmonolithen von Sigiriya am schweißgebadeten tropischen Horizont. Farther away, the shilouette of the huge Sigiriya rock monolith shimmers along the sweat-drenched tropical horizon. For many who come to Sri Lanka, the lion rock Sigiriya with the frescoes of the cloud girls is the symbol of the country. For a brief moment, the sight of the rock swears an awesome silence in us. Then click the cameras, as in almost every second since we entered this island and the magic moment dissolves immediately. Our catamaran cruises slowly over the lotus-covered pond. Waterfowl flee and the old rock is resting in it until we slowly approach it.

As I stand in front of the entrance gates of the Lion Rock Sigiriya, there is no trace of this magical sight. It seems as if you have to look at the main attraction of Sri Lanka from afar to explore its uniqueness. Tourists wearing trekking sandals and Asian girls climbing the lion cliffs of Sigiriya in droves. And first of all, visiting the main attraction of Sri Lanka - the Lion Rock Sigiriya and the frescoes of the Cloud Girls - is not a walk. It's a ordeal. In oppressive sultry tropical heat you fight in line in the tourist queue on a narrow spiral staircase up higher and higher. When you get to the top, you have almost nothing left for the world-famous cloud girls because you are completely out of breath. The frescoes of the cloud girls can be reached halfway up the mighty rock monolith. You are under a rock overhang.

The frescoes of the cloud girls at the Lion Rock Sigiriya

1,500 years old are the frescoes of the Wolkenmädchen. Her bare breasts are still attracting attention. In the 1970s, they received breast lifts from the painters during restoration work - the nipples were set slightly above for beautification reasons. Once upon a time, the pornographic scenes were for King Kassapa, who had the most beautiful girls from his harem painted on the rocks here. Originally it should have been over 200 girls. Photography is strictly prohibited, as if you were still a spark of decorum.

The Lion Rock Sigiriya - a kingdom on a rock

The strenuous ascent continues on the Löwenfelsen until you reach the entrance gate: the Löwentor. I'm a little bit angry with the strange hat monkeys racing past me on the steep rock face as if it were a race. With its magnificent lion paws, the gate symbolizes the power of King Kassapa, who hid here for fear of the revenge of his half-brother. King Kassapa murdered his father to seize the throne. He banished his half-brother, the rightful heir to the throne, into exile. It went well for 18 years, until the brother came back and won his rightful place. That was in the 4th century BC. After that, the kingdom fell into oblivion on the Lion Rock Sigiriya. The nature overgrew the former fortress and the palace grounds.

Today you can only see the last remnants of the highest plateau of the Lion Rock Sigiriya: pleasure gardens with swimming pools and palace ruins - a barely imaginable world of splendor on a rock monolith in the middle of nowhere. Who would suspect today what a tumultuous party up here in lofty heights took place? The view from up here compensates for the exhausting climb. Around the rock you can see across the expanse of the land, a seemingly endless green jungle plain in the hazy light of the tropical sultriness. What silence must there be up here, would no one else be here? A forgotten kingdom on a rocky plateau - where else can you find it?

The palace complex Sigiriya with moats and parks from above

The descent is felt faster. Down below, a snake charmer with cobra and python crouches in front of souvenir stalls, which has cost me a panic attack. Our drivers surprised us with a sweet pineapple - just right after this ordeal.

UNESCO World Heritage Sigiriya

The Lion Rock Sigiriya and the Cloud Girl Frescoes have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982.

Is it worth the ascent to the Lion Rock Sigiriya?

Although many tourists visit the main attraction of Sri Lanka, the ascent to Sigiriya is definitely worth it. You have to climb 200 meters over stairs and the tropical hot heat. In addition, it is sometimes steeply downhill, so that people with vertigo could get a bit of a bummer, but you should still dare, because the lion rock Sigiriya and the frescoes of the Wolkenmädchen must have seen in any case, if you are in Sri Lanka. The history around the rock should be known in mMm and you can imagine it all the better when you look at the palace ruins on the rock itself. The view compensates everything again!

How much time should I plan for visiting Sigiriya?

It depends a bit on how much is going on, because depending on the onslaught, it can come on the stairs to "traffic jams". You can be through with everything in 2 hours. However, I would advise you to allow at least 2-4 hours to visit Sigiriya, then you will have enough time to look at the historical excavations, enjoy the view, or take a stroll in the gardens below with the swimming pools and moats.

  Entrance fees Lion Rocks Sigiriya: 30 USD per person, 15 USD children
Opening hours: daily 7 to 19 o'clock

My tip for photographers: Pidurangala rocks

Pidurangala Rock from Sigririya Rock

If you want to have a breathtaking view of the Lion Rock Sigiriya and look for beautiful photo opportunities, you can climb the nearby rock Pidurangala (about 1 km from Sigiriya). From there you have a great view of the Lion Rock Sigiriya - but you have to visit the in any case! So it's best to visit both. It is best to use the early morning or evening hours to get the best light conditions - at noon it is very hazy. In addition, there are fewer tourists on the way - even on Pidurangala romping Instagrammer meanwhile. For an insider's tip seldom stays long.

My overnight tip for visiting Sigiriya:

I stayed at the beautiful Elephant Oak Inn in Habarana for 2 nights. Habarana is best for exploring the Cultural Triangle: Sigiriya, Dambulla and Polonaruwa. The hotel was one of the nicest on my Sri Lanka trip -wonderful rooms, a great garden with two large swimming pools. The food in the hotel also tasted very good.

Other useful information

Read my complete Sri Lanka travelogues or itinerary here:

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: The Best Travel Guide for Sri Lanka

The best travel guide for individual travel in Asia:
Stefan Loose travel guide Sri Lanka: with travel atlas *

very good travel guide for individual travel:

Travel Know-How Travel Guide Sri Lanka *

This geo special issue makes you want to Sri Lanka, with great pictures, facts about country people and background reports:

GEO Special / GEO Special 01/2018 - Sri Lanka *

I hope this article with the Sri Lanka travel tips helped you to plan your trip to Sri Lanka. If you want more helpful tips, subscribe to the free newsletter and follow me on facebook , instagram and pinterest !

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