Sigiriya

Sigiriya Travel Blog

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Sigiriya is an archeological site in Central  Sri Lanka. It contains the ruins of an ancient palace complex, built during the reign of King Kasyapa (477 – 495 AD). It is one of the seven world heritage sites in Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya rock is the hardened magma plug from an extinct and long-eroded volcano. It stands high above the surrounding plain, visible for miles in all directions. The rock rests on a steep mound that rises abruptly from the flat plain surrounding it. The rock itself rises 370m and is sheer on all sides, in many places overhanging the base. It is elliptical in plan and has a flat top that slopes gradually along the long axis of the ellipse.

Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times.

The Mirror Wall And Its Frescoes
It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 3rd century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by Kasyapa. Following Kasyapa's death, it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. 

From here the climb to the top of the rock is via a modern but very scary iron stairway that reaches the rockface through the remains of the original brick gateway, the Lion Gate, now degenerated to a massive pair of brick paws. The ruined paws are all that remain of a huge head and fore paws of a lion, whose open mouth served as the entrance to the royal palace. The route continues around, across and up the cliff face via a rather airy iron staircase, a modern replacement for the original brick stairway, that vanished along with the lion's head during the 1400 years since the palace was constructed.

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The Mirror Wall And Its Frescoes
The Mirror Wall And Its Frescoes
The Mirror Wall And Its Frescoes
The Mirror Wall And Its Frescoes
scary walk beside two hornet nests
scary walk beside two hornet nests
Sigiriya
photo by: Vlindeke