The secrets of Zinc Journey Sigiriya uncovered!

01Holding within her the mysteries and lore of centuries past, where dancing damsels, pools in the sky, structural wonders and resonating poetry spoke of grandeur never experienced before, the mammoth red hued colossus rises high from surrounding jungle against the tropical blue sky, every inch the queen of her environ.

This is Sigiriya, believed to have been formed from magma of an extinct volcano, the Lion Rock sitting 370 meters above sea level and home to the ingeniously crafty parricidal self-proclaimed King Kasyapa, whose eye for beauty is as synonymous as his eye for engineering.

It is within this esoteric beauty that Zinc Journey Sigiriya gazes up at the regal magnificence of a rock that remains integral to the history of this boutique property, speaking of tales past and journeys trod, ever since the British decided that this location would be their ideal home away from home.

Zinc Journey Sigiriya epitomises the artful blend of Sri Lankan hospitality with the elegance of colonial convention. It is an ideal combination that articulates the history of the Sigiriya Rest House as was its genesis and the contemporary persona gained from an international hospitality chain, whose brand philosophy for Zinc Journey is all about a ‘unique experience’. That unique experience begins no sooner a Sri Lankan welcome is bestowed upon you; a warm smile and hands clasped with ‘Ayubowan’ wishing you long life.

Enter the spacious lobby, minimalist in décor but elaborate in tasteful detail. Harboured almost secretively is a sprawling expanse of green where birds and bees regale stories as a gastronomic journey of multi-course cuisine flavoured for East or West is served with aplomb. This is where the colonialists’ love for good food and wine is well ingrained, carried forward centuries later in the very spot they may have played cards, smoked their cigars and enjoyed a hearty meal of luscious appetisers, delightful entrées, robust mains and a delectable dessert accompanied with a glass of the best. This is a canvas that Zinc Journey Sigiriya’s team of experienced chefs and highly-trained service cohort paint with style and flavour.

The comfort of the rooms knows no bounds. Delightfully cosy, each of these 20 rooms is each designed to relish the bygone architectural facet of a Sri Lankan home – the verandah, while inside, it’s luxury defined. Air-conditioned of course, the king sized beds with its Egyptian cotton bedding and linen, wall mounted LED TV and a well-appointed bathroom that expresses details of indulgence with its handcrafted toiletries reflects the allure that Zinc Journey boutique properties have garnered around the world.

But it is the magnetic charisma of that beautiful monolith that gives Zinc Journey Sigiriya the ultimate edge. From nearly everywhere in the property, the Sigiriya Rock can be seen in all its splendour. And hence it is no surprise that way before Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 from the British, colonialists scouted this beautiful little island nation in a quest for the most scenic locales in which to rest their weary heads on their travels across the length and breadth of the country.

These locations, popularly known as ‘Rest Houses’ were ideally not only to give travellers some respite but also to ‘rest the horses’ and it could be reasoned that it was ‘rest horse’ that eventually became ‘rest house’. Rest houses soon became ingrained within the hospitality culture of the country, used by the elite and later by the higher echelon of the public sector, where travel was compulsory and comfort imperative. One could surmise that the rest house culture is surely the genesis of the buoyant hospitality industry that now makes Sri Lanka one of the hottest destinations in the world.

At Zinc Journey Sigiriya, it’s the mystery of that majestic rock that yet holds the guest in awe. Steeped in history that speaks from the beginning of civilisation, the secrets held within the rock and the vestiges of the grand palace which was the haven of one of the most cruel yet clever ‘kings’ in the country, yet remains enigmatic. Some of his actions are recorded while others are shrouded in folklore as is the tale that Kasyapa, the son of King Dhatusena’s consort, drove away a group of hermits who had made the rock their home since the 3rd century BC.

But history does record that the young King may have had a touch of insanity stemming from fear, a hunger for power and a weakness of the flesh (he’s believed to have had 500 wives and concubines). That madness for power led Kasyapa to wall up his father to die a slow and painful death and seize the throne which belonged rightfully to his brother, Moggallana, who fled to India but later returned.

It is in fear for his life that Kasyapa ran to the monastery and decided that this rocky plateau would protect him. An ensuing battle saw Kasyapa, abandoned by his armies, commit suicide, though not before leaving an engineering and artistic legacy of extensive network of fortifications, vast landscaped gardens, yet functioning ponds, canals and fountains and the rock itself from which was hewed a colossal stone lion as the palace gateway which gave the rock its name, Sihagri, later called Sigiriya, with its canvas of world famous frescoes and 8th century poetry inscribed mirror wall.

It is this legacy of an ancient king, colonial habits, travellers’ tales and tangible wonderment that is well-entwined into the life and times of Zinc Journey Sigiriya. Whether you are adventurous, spirited, enthusiastic, relaxed, eco-oriented, a gastronomic connoisseur or avid historian, this boutique property is about authenticity, genuine hospitality and unique experiences. That’s the Zinc Journey ethos – one to be lived and to be experienced.

Zinc Journey Sigiriya is a Joint Venture of Ceylon Hotels Corporation and C G Hotels and Resorts.03

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