Sigiriya Travel Blog› entry 4 of 24 › view all entries
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.
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.