Sometimes, geocaches bring us to incredible destinations, challenge us physically, or include a history lesson right from the cache site. Towering high above the Central Province of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya, or Lion Rock, provides the setting of these features and much more! A must-see destination for those visiting the island, Sigiriya’s unique appearance, ancient rock paintings, and geologic history collide in our first Sri Lankan Geocache of the Week: Sigiriya Rock – The Lion Mountain (GC1MCV5).
Geocaching is about the experience, challenge, and excitement of finding something beyond the everyday–but who knew it could take you more than 600 ft (180 m) above the ground on a magnificent rock fortress? Although Sigiriya can host up to one million visitors annually, not every visitor carefully studies the history and geology unique to this landmark destination. A keen eye and curious spirit will surely enhance your visit to the rock.
As you approach the former rock fortress of King Kasyapa, keep your eyes open to witness two incredible hand-carved lion paws guarding the stairway to the top of the rock. Although the rock previously included a stone head, and other body parts of a lion, the paws are the only remaining carvings. Before you begin your climb, be sure to also stop and find GCGRR6 – ‘On Sigiriya rock,’ a beloved Virtual Cache which primes you for the climb to the top.
As you ascend, look out for some of the ancient paintings delicately added to the rock face. Originally covering the entire western face of the massive rock, now only a handful of colorful paintings are still visible on your journey. As you pass by the artwork, observe the careful line and brushwork which characterize these unique creations.
While the paintings undoubtedly catch the eye, the geology of the rock is equally intriguing. Composed primarily of various types of granite rock, Sigiriya is a hardened magma plug, the core of an extinct and eroded volcano. The visible rock today stands as only a fraction of the volcano’s original size.
Although the climb to the top of Sigiriya may have been brutal, the breathtaking view of the surrounding city and landscape provides a worthwhile reward for the climb! Once you have your bearings, don’t forget to take a picture of yourself on top-this is the sole logging requirement for this EarthCache.
With each passing step closer to ground level, the view of the mountains and landscape slowly fades into the surrounding treeline. Although you’ve left the Lion Rock behind, the memories of this elevated fortress and GC1MCV5 will undoubtedly stay locked inside your memories for years to come.
Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world. Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.