Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sri Lanka

Ranked #1 in Sri Lanka Tourism

Sigiriya also known as “Lion’s rock” is an ancient rock in the district of Matale, the central province of Sri Lanka. This flat topped rock of Sri Lanka is a remarkable geological formation as well as one of its greatest archaeological legacies. It stands at a height of 370 metres, with a fort/palace atop and hence also referred to as Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

About Sigiriya

The surrounding area was inhabited from 3rd century BC, however Sigiriya got its fame since King Kassapa I (477 – AD 495) established his capital there. It is believed that after the king’s death it was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

At the top of the summit is the palace complex and its ruins; chambers, stairways and pools From the base of the rock there is a staircase leading to the top and you can find a pair giant lions paws. The entrance to the rock fortress/palace was in the form of an open mouth of a huge lion which is all in ruins now. A photo of the ruins is below shows just the paws.

Sigiriya - Ruins of the Lion Mouth entrance

Sigiriya – Ruins of the Lion Mouth entrance

Sigiriya paintings

Sigiriya paintings

Around the palace complex is widely surrounded by the remains of gardens, pools and other structures.  This popular tourist destination is famous for its ancient paintings. Its whole wall looks like a huge picture gallery covering an area of almost 150 metres long and 40 metres wide. The ladies depicted in the pictures have resemblance to the painting of Ajanta Caves in India, the graceful form and colour also directs to the “Kandy Temple” sacred to the Sinhalese.

MIRROR WALL – The wall made of a type of porcelain was so polished the king could see himself while he walked along. Now the rock is covered partly by the scribbled verses and writings by visitors. Writings on the mirror wall are now banned.

GARDENS – The layouts of the building and garden are well preserved and very clear. It is among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. The garden is divided into three types; the water gardens, the terrace gardens and the cave and boulder gardens, however linked to one another.

How to reach Sigiriya Rock

Sigiriya is about 10km east of the main road between Dambulla and Habarana. Buses are available every 30 minutes from Dambulla, but less frequent in the afternoon.

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