Lion Rock is a spectacular archaeological site in the center of Sri Lanka. It was the former capital of King Kassapa who ruled from AD 477 to 495. The King has been described as "brave, murderous and brilliant". The King transformed a rock rising 200 meters out of the central Sri Lankan plain into an immense recumbent lion. Unfortunately, all that remains of the Lion today is a giant paw although the imagination has little difficulty in visualizing the Lion Rock at the time of King Kassapa.
The King's palace was constructed on the flat table-top of Lion Rock - a remarkable engineering achievement in the 5th century. There is no easy access to the top!
The Lion's paws below the final stairway to the summit. Nerve and fortitude were required to scale the rickety ladders and stairway!
An immense paw with Kathleen for scale.
A serious warning sign for all intrepid climbers - hornet attacks can be fatal. The hornets nest on the cliffs beside the summit stairway and they are irritable and unpredictable. Fate was tempted by my noisy words of encouragement to Kathleen as she slowly climbed the near vertical stairway within a few meters of the buzzing hornets. She politely reminded me to heed the above warning!
The 'killer' hornets at rest!
A rather makeshift and low capacity hornet's refuge half way to the top of Lion's Rock.
Safely to the top! A tough climb!
Our two local guides who provided encyclopedic knowledge of King Kassapa's palace and also carried our bags in the searing heat - two vital tourist support services!
Panorama from the table-top and the foundations of the ancient palace.
A spiral staircase to a pocket in the side of Lion's Rock that contains exquisite and remarkably well preserved frescoes of glamorous and sensuous woman from the 5th century. King Kassapa, in addition to being brave, murderous and brilliant, was also an acclaimed lothario.
The 'cloud damsel' mural depicting feminine beauty and glamor - King Kassapa clearly did not subscribe to the Buddhist concept of suppressing lust in order to achieve eternal happiness!
Two cloud damsels with flowers, jewelery and exotic head-dresses.
King Kassapa's personal taste in feminine beauty is rather apparent in all the cloud damsel frescoes!