Sigiriya

The ancient Rock Fortress City of Sigiriya is a UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the more ‘to visit’ and renowned sites of history in Sri Lanka. It’s located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka.

The rock fortress or Lion Rock of Sigiriya is an interesting climb via steps to its summit, it stands more than 180m high. The ruins of the capital built by King Kashyapa I (477–495) atop a massive granite rock is an astonishing feat of engineering and construction to have been undertaken at this time (5th Century). Kashyapa was King Dathusena son sired by a non-royal concubine, who seized the throne from his father following a coup, assisted by the King’s nephew and army commander. Kashyapa being fearful of the backlash of his heinous deed from the legitimate son and heir (Moggallana, also known as Mugalan), built the rock fortress to defend himself. Unaware that Moggallana fearing for his own life, had fled to South India.

According to legend, Moggallana subsequently returned to Sri Lanka with an army from India. What ensued was a battle and the subsequent demise of King Kashyapa. The rock fortress was abandoned after the death of King Kashyapa.

Having reached the mirror wall (Katapathpawra), you will continue further upwards through a spiral stairway to a gallery depicting frescoes of fair maidens carrying lotus flowers. It is believed that these maidens were to carry these flowers to the adjoining Pidurangala rock Temple and Monastery. On the way to the summit you will be greeted by a pair of gigantic lion paws that reflect the entrance or gateway to the final ascent of the fortress citadel. Upon reaching the top you will be in awe of the ruins of the kings palace, with delightful views of the surrounding jungles, ancient landscaped gardens, moat and the water gardens below.