Sigiriya – Lion’s Rock
One of the most intriguing sites in Sri Lanka, Sigiriya has been fascinating both the local and international travellers since inception. A fortress built on a massive rock, its cutting edge design and hydraulic innovation has enabled it to reserve its right as a World Heritage Site.
The legend behind Sigiriya is perhaps the most popular story recorded in history. Sigiriya was built by King Kashyapa who was the son of the rightful king of the Anuradhapura kingdom, King Dathusena. However, Kashyapa was the son of the king’s concubine and not the queen, therefore he had no legitimate claim to the throne, especially when prince Mugalan, the son of King Dathusena and the queen was still alive.
According to the old historical record Culavamsa, Kashayapa with an over powering ambition to gain the throne, conspired to plot against his father King Dathusena. Chroniclers claim that Kashyapa holding, his father hostage demanded to know where all the treasure was buried. King Dathusena agreed to show him the treasure and took Kashyapa to the tank Kala Weva and claimed that this was his only treasure. As a result, he committed patricide by entombing his father alive in the bund of the tank.
Having usurped power, Kashyapa declared himself the reigning king of Anuradhapura. Prince Moggallana fled the country and took refuge in India. King Kashyapa ruled in fear as he knew that Moggallana would return and claim the throne. Therefore, as a measure to deter this he built Sigiriya, a citadel complete with gardens, rooms, pools and frescoes. The technology and skilled expertise required to have built a fortress of this magnitude on a rock has marvelled historians and engineers alike.
Sigiriya was Kashyapa’s home and for a brief period in history it was the capital of the Anuradhapura kingdom.
Attractions in Sigiriya
Merging history, architecture and art, Sigiriya is a sensational excursion for the discerning traveller
The Water Gardens
Marvelling visitors, the water gardens provides for a scenic environment. The water provided to the pools in the gardens are supplied via underground conduits. It is said that King Kashyapa and his entourage frequently bathed here.
It is believed that the frescoes at Sigiriya insinuate the abundant life King Kashyapa. Employing a unique style, techniques regarding colour saturation utilised to illustrate the women, the frescoes has impressed art historians for years.
Entrance to Sigiriya
Identified as the terrace of the lion stair case, the entrance is complete with two carved large paws resembling that of a Lion. It is said that this symbolises that the name the Sigiriya is derived from the name Sinha-Giri or the Lion Rock.
The Mirror Wall
Polished to perfection, the Mirror Wall replicates an actual mirror. It had been made so that the king is said to have wished to see himself while walking along the wall. In addition, the mirror contains invaluable verses written on it centuries ago.
The Boulder Garden
Fortified with two enormous rocks, the boulder gardens are a part of the landscaped gardens of the Sigiriya. Constructed with caves whose antiquity is older than Sigiriya itself, the visually appealing the boulder garden is the accessible route to the audience hall.