S. M. Owens posted a photo:
Sri Lanka: Central Province, Sigiriya, Lion Rock
I took this photo in March 1983, when I visited Sri Lanka, for the first time.
Sigiriya is stunning, and a breath-taking idea. A rock fortress, with a palace atop, all-but impregnable, and decorated with famous frescoes. The climb to the top was arduous, thirsty work, hence the drinks stalls can be seen at base camp.
Sigirya has been recognized by UNESCO, as a World Heritage Site.
However, perhaps unknown to many, there is more history, hereabouts, from a more recent time.
Before I went to Sri Lanka, in 1983, I was reminded that a distant relative had served in the country during World War 2. Then, the island was known as Ceylon, and it was a strategically important British Colony. Fortunately, I was able to see him before I left the UK.
He told me that he had served on a Royal Air Force base near Sigiriya; the place was intolerably hot and remote. Apparently, it was possible to see the rock from the base.
Obviously, billeted so far from home, in very alien conditions, he was in an unenviable position and under some duress. He became ill and had to be returned home to convalesce. He found it difficult to understand why I would want to go to the country.
I did see him after I’d returned, but I can’t recall if we ever discussed Sri Lanka.
The base at Sigiriya was used as a location for the filming of of the movie ‘Purple Plain’, the adaptation of the book by H.E. Bates, set in Burma during W.W.2; it stars Gregory Peck.
More information concerning the base, can be found here:
Title borrowed from an album by Eno. Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).
Photo and text:
© S. Owens
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