The ancient city of Sigiriya is one of Asia's best preserved heritage sites, dating back to as early as the first millennium. Situated in Matale district of Sri Lanka, this centuries-old site features many vestiges that testify the region's rich history. A massive rock fortress, which soars to a height of 200 m, dominates the landscape of this historical city. According to the chronicles of Culavamsa, a king named Kasyapa established his capital in Sigiriya in 477 AD. In order to safeguard him from being attacked by his exiled brother, this fortress was built atop a magnificent rock. Remnants of ramparts, moats and water gardens encompass the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, depicting its urban planning and sophisticated engineering.
Attractions in Sigiriya
Sigiriya Rock Paintings
Frescoes of beautiful damsels, called Sigiri Apsaras in local parlance, adorn the Western Rock cavity. It is believed that there were over 500 such paintings on the walls of Sigiriya during the reign of king Kassapa, but only 21 of them remain today.
The Mirror Wall, which is a prominent part of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, is painted with graffiti that dates back to 7th–10th century AD. The pathway, featuring this wall, leads to the Lion Paw Terrace that houses a stairway leading to the rock's summit.
Beyond the ramparts that once guarded the rock fortress are beautiful pleasure gardens that add to the scenic charm of the place. The Water Gardens feature numerous fountains, ponds and pools.
Monastic Cave Complex and Rock Boulder Garden
There are numerous caves in Sigiriya that were inhabited by Buddhist monks before king Kassapa established his kingdom here. During his reign, the area, where huge rocks were located, was landscaped into a Rock Boulder Garden.
Built on a rock boulder, the Audience Hall is a famous section of the royal complex. Stone seats that have been carved out of huge rocks are the major attraction of this hall.
Cobra Hood Cave
The Cobra Hood Cave got its name from its peculiar shape that resembles a cobra's head. Its ceilings are adorned with intricate paintings that date back to 6th-7th century AD.
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