An early morning start from Colombo takes us to the ancient city of Sigiriya in central Sri Lanka. Standing some 370 metres above lush jungle foliage the granite rock fortress dates back to the 5th century when it was built under the rule of Kassapa, one of Sri Lanka’s most infamous kings. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is accessed via a steep set of stairs up the side of the rock, and along the way there is an opportunity to enter a sheltered pocket of rock where you will find a fantastic collection of frescoes known as the “Heavenly Maidens” of Sigiriya. Upon reaching the summit enjoy spectacular views of the jungle below and mountains in the distance.
Later we move on to the Dambulla Rock Temple, one of the most impressive and best-preserved cave temples in all of Sri Lanka. Made up of five caves this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts remarkable mural paintings, covering over 2,000 square metres of wall and ceiling with roughly 150 depictions of Buddha. Each cave offers its own unique treasures, from the monumental reclining statue of Buddha in the Devaraja Viharaya cave, to the ornately decorated Maharaja Viharaya cave.