"Sigiriya (Lion's rock)" Sri Lanka Things to Do Tip by josephescu

Sri Lanka Things to Do: 539 reviews and 890 photos

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Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress and ruins of a castle situated in central Sri Lanka. It is a popular tourist destination and also popular for the ancient paintings (frescos) very similar to the paintings in Ajanta Caves of India.

It was built during the reign of King Kasyapa, a patricidal king who, afraid of reprisals led by his half ? brother, chose to move the seat of power from Anuradhapura to this 500m rock. It was Kasyapa and his master-builders who were responsible for the complex plan which made Sigiriya the glorious capital it was for 17 years (477 ? 495 AD). The frescoes of the "heavenly maidens" halfway up the rock in a sheltered gallery. The "mirror wall", which records the poetic outpourings of early visitors to the rock and the colossal plan of the royal palace, water gardens and fortifications, is entirely fascinating.

Following Kasyapa's death, the rock turned again into a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered in 1907 a British explorer.

Some further interpretations have the site as the work of a Buddhist community, with no military function at all. This site may have been important in the competition between the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions in ancient Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya is used as the location of many of the events in the science-fiction novel The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke, although Clarke changed the name to Yakkagala in the book.

Website: http://sigiriya.org/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 31, 2008
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