In the very heart of Sri Lanka, a massive flat-topped, sheer-sided rock rises abruptly from the plains. It is a striking sight made all teh more remarkable with an unusual Fortress at its summit. Built in the 5th century by King Kassyapa-I the entrance at the base of the great rock is adordned by Giant Lion Paws and about halfway up, recessed into a wonderfully protected niche sit a series of celebrated frescoes depicting celestial nymphs, often referred to as apsaras or ‘cloud maidens’ – but possibly depicting the king’s wives and courtesans bathing or tending flowers.

Exhilarating stairs and precipitous catwalks complete the final haul to the summit, where you are rewarded with unparalled 360-degree views of the countryside below. For many visitors, this is understandably the country’s top cultural attraction.

It helps to be relatively physcally fit for reaching the summit.

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