Sigiriya: The Lion Rock Fortress of Sri Lanka

  • Majestic Rock Fortress: Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, is a massive rock column that rises nearly 200 meters (660 feet) above the surrounding landscape. At the summit are the ruins of an ancient palace complex built by King Kashyapa in the 5th century AD.

  • Frescoes of the Cloud Maidens: The rock walls of Sigiriya are adorned with vibrant frescoes depicting celestial maidens, known as the “Sigiriya Damsels” or “Cloud Maidens.” These paintings, dating back to the 5th century, are among the best-preserved examples of ancient Sri Lankan art.

  • The Mirror Wall: Originally polished to a high sheen so that the king could see his reflection as he walked by, the Mirror Wall of Sigiriya is now covered with ancient graffiti. These inscriptions, some dating back to the 8th century, provide valuable insights into the thoughts and feelings of visitors from centuries past.
  • Ingenious Water Gardens: At the base of Sigiriya, an extensive network of landscaped gardens, pools, fountains, and terraces showcases advanced hydraulic engineering. The water gardens, with their sophisticated irrigation systems, highlight the ingenuity and aesthetic sense of the ancient builders.

  • Legend and Myth: According to legend, King Kashyapa chose Sigiriya as his capital after assassinating his father, King Dhatusena, and fearing retribution from his half-brother Moggallana. The site’s strategic location and formidable defenses reflect Kashyapa’s need for security and symbolize his reign’s tumultuous nature.
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