Travel to Sri Lanka | Sigiriya
Sigiriya Sri Lanka , the world famous Lion rock or the Eighth Wonder of World as declared by UNESCO and referred by locals, is a citadel, an old palace and an ancient fortress complex, built by King Kashyapa (477 – 495 CE) in the 5th century A.D, located in the heart of the island , just 175 kilometers north-east of Colombo, in between the towns of Dambulla and Habarana in central province, Sri Lanka.
This massive Rock Fortress, which truly is a breathtaking sight to behold, with a historical and archeological significance, attracting thousands of tourists every year, is arguably one of the most iconic sites to visit in Sri Lanka. We could say it’s probably the most visited tourist destination in Sri Lanka.
This rock plateau of 370 meters above the sea level and 660 feet high, is believed to be made up from magma of an extinct volcano. After climbing up to the top of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, you can explore the ancient ruins from the up above and enjoy the beautiful scenery over the misty forests, lakes and small villages the entire Sigiriya city has.
The gigantic view of this valuable monument, never fails to amaze the imagination of the viewer and it is among one of the 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.
This used to be an old monastery since 3rd century BC. Next it became a royal residence. Ruler the King Kashyapa was worried about possible attacks from his brother Moggalana, the real heir to the throne, as King Kashyapa himself was a born to a non-royal concubine who had no right to the throne. So he decided to move his headquarters to here in the 2nd half of the 5th century. It was again used as a buddhist monastery till 14th century after the King’s death and was abandoned.
The Fortress complex is consisting of remains of old ruined palace which is surrounded by forts, extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, ponds, a complex hydraulic system, canals, lanes, dams, bridges, fountains and underground water pumps. King Kashyapa created a highly polished ‘mirror wall’ so that he could see his own reflection in it. The poetry and prose carved into this ‘Mirror Wall’ depicts the culture, lifestyle and surroundings of Sigiriya Sri Lanka.
There’s a high wall extending 140 m long and about 40 m high where it covered with paintings of beautiful ladies. King Kashyapa had more than 500 concubines therefore it is often believed to be as the bear breasted, golden skinned women featuring on the ‘Sigiri Frescoes’ are them.
In 1831 Major Jonathan Forbes was the first to encountered the Sigiriya the lion’s rock and Sir H.C.P Bell was the first archeologist to conduct a wide research on Sigiriya in 1890s. Archeological researches began on the entire ruined city of Sigiriya in 1982, under the ‘Cultural Triangle Project’ launched by the government of Sri Lanka.
Before you head to the fortress complex first you need to purchase the tickets from the Sigiriya ticket office which is open from 6.30 am to 6 p.m. Payment is cash only. Entrance fees are often credited to the ‘Central Cultural Fund’ for maintenance and researches on monuments across the country.
We recommend you visiting Sigiriya between the months of January and April because of the moderate climate. It will most probably take from 1.5 hours to 3 hours to climb up the Fortress and back down. It is not that hard to climb but strenuous with about 1,200 steps. Sigiriya Sri Lanka