The Citadel of Sigiriya or the lion rock is a rock fortress rising above 200 meters above the surrounding plain. Though it is located within the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka in Matale district of the central province of Sri Lanka has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site. You will have to travel about 25 km in distance to from Dambulla, the closest city to the Sigiriya. It is said that the flat topped rock formation of the rock fortress was built by King Kashyapa (477-495AD).
According to the ancient epic, ‘Culavamsha’ King Kashayapa who took possession of the reign from the rightful brother ‘Muggalan’ wanted to make his capital at the top of this massive rock surrounded by the jungle from all sides. But King Kashyapa was defeated by Mugalam with the help of South Indian tribes in 295 CE. Thereby Mugalan was attained to the throne and the transferred the kingdom to Anuradhapura. Eventually, the Sigiriya was turned back to a monastery complex. Sigiriya calls backs to a great civilization of Sri Lanka. The fortress is surrounded by the remains of a city complex with gardens, defensive structures, reservoirs and number of brick buildings. The main path to the rock is alongside with picturesque brick walls and timber frames of the buildings. Perhaps it will be hard to imagine about the surviving Royal garden now. The entire city complex is protected by a deep moat. In ancient times the moats were filled with dangerous crocodiles. Even today the fountain sprinklers in the water gardens are overwhelming in rainy seasons. You will find four pools set in a square. Archeologists believe that an ancient underground cannel was made to supply water from the garden to the top of the rock. The lion mount or the Singha Pada is an impressive feature which you may find steadily.
The original caves were plastered and painted.
The famous frescoes painted on the walls of the rock are reminiscent of the Ajantha caves in India. The Cobra hood cave beside the rock is an extraordinary cave shading a Brahmin inscription dating around the 2nd century. At the top, the rock you will find the Audience hall remains of the five-meter elongated throne and caves where variegated paintings are preserved. Don’t forget to visit the new museum close to the fortress. Yet the palace was visited by many explorers around 6th century they recorded the beauty through passionate Sigiriya graffiti written on the Ketapath Pawura (Mirror wall). An abundant collection of photos, reproductions of the frescoes, translated poems on the mirror wall and artifacts are exhibited.