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There are few more impressive sights in the world than the 370-metre-high rock citadel of Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage. Known as the “Lion Rock”, it crouches in red splendour, enveloped by the dense jungle, dominating the surrounding plains. Built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century it took seven years to build and was abandoned after ten years of occupation when the King, defeated by his brother committed suicide. However, in this short time beautiful frescoes were painted – the perfect time to see them is in low light, in the morning or late afternoon – most notably the ‘celestial maidens’ in a cave halfway up, with their expressive faces and exquisite headdresses. Look out for the Mirror Wall, polished to reflective brilliance, and the remains of gardens on the summit. Arthur C Clarke who lived in Sri Lank since 1950 named Sigiriya his 8th Wonder of the World.

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To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson