Sigiriya is one of the most valuable historical monuments of Sri Lanka. It is famous for its Sigiriya (Lion Rock) Palace ruins on top of a massive 200 meter (660 ft) high rock surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs and other structures. The rock itself is a lava plug left over from an ancient long extinct volcano. This site was selected by King Kasyapa for his new capital, who had seized power from the rightful heir, Moggallana, who fled to South India. Fearing an attack from Moggallana, Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya. Sigiriya consists of an ancient citadel built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century. The Sigiriya site contains the ruins of an upper palace located on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate, the lower palaces located behind the lavish lower gardens, and moats and ramparts which protected the citadel. The site was both a palace and a fortress. The upper palace on the top of the rock includes cisterns cut into the rock. The moats and walls that surround the lower palace are exquisitely beautiful.
It is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescoes), which are similar to those found at Ajanta Caves in India. It is generally agreed, however, that the Sigiriya Frescoes exhibit a uniquely Sri Lankan style.
The Gardens of the Sigiriya city are one of the most important aspects of the site, as it is among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. The gardens are divided into three distinct but linked forms: water gardens, cave and boulder gardens, and terraced gardens.
King Kashyapa was defeated in 495 CE by Moggallana, who moved the capital again to Anuradhapura. Sigiriya was then turned back into a Buddhist monastery, which lasted until the 13th or 14th century. Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees of the Buddhist Sangha. Most of the elaborate constructions on the rock summit and around it, including defensive structures, palaces, and gardens, date back to this period.
Things to do / Places to Look;
- Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress / Citadel
- Water Gardens
- Boulder Gardens
- Cobra Hood Cave
- Fountain Gardens
- Sigiriya Museum
- Pidurangala (Cave, Temple & Rock)
- Sigiriya Elephant Rides
- Minneriya National Park
Since Sigiriya is a popular destination among tourists around the world, there are so many Hotels/Lodges where you can dine in and stay. There are various types of lodging options you can choose from according to your budget and choice. There are many restaurants that serves Local and International Cuisine of your choice. The scenery and the view is really something and well worth exploring, and the vegetation is of a rough, almost unearthly beauty which beats every postcard image you’ve ever seen.
So I recommend anyone who like nature and quietness and relaxing experience, come to Sigiriya and enjoy the Rich History of Sri Lanka blended with nature at its best.