Sigiriya or Sinhagiri (Lion Rock) is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high.
Referred by locals as the Eighth Wonder of the World this ancient palace and fortress complex has significant archaeological importance and attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is probably the most visited tourist destination of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.
According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kashyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure — Sīnhāgiri, the Lion Rock (an etymology similar to Sinhapura, the Sanskrit name of Singapore, the Lion City).
The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
The western wall of Sigiriya was almost entirely covered by frescoes, The frescoes are depicting nude females and are considered to be either the portraits of Kasyapa’s wives and concubines or priestess performing religious rituals. Despite the unknown identity of the females depicted in the frescoes, these unique ancient paintings are celebrating female beauty and have incredible historical significance.
The buildings and gardens of Sigiriya show that the creators of this amazing architectural monument used unique and creative technical skills and technologies. The gardens of Sigiriya are among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.
Mirror wall – Originally this wall was so highly polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it. Made of brick masonry and covered in highly polished white plaster,
— in Sri Lanka.
♣ Contact for your tour : Royal Tourism – Sri Lanka