Sigiriya is an ancient city built atop a giant megalithic rock that towers 200 metres above the surrounding landscape. It is located in a remote location in the Matale District of Sri Lanka about three hours’ drive from Colombo. It is an exhilarating experience to explore the ancient city of Sigiriya which has mystified visitors throughout its long and colourful history, as described by ancient visitors with their writings on the mirror wall. One can marvel at the grandeur and mystique of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress from the comfort of one of the best hotels in Sigiriya; the Hotel Sigiriya which is found in close proximity to this glorious site.
Designated a cultural World Heritage Site in 1982, Sigiriya, has been famous as a palace, fortress and pleasure garden of King Kashyapa. It is known to be one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning, showing techniques and technology far more advanced than believed possible for the time. The city layout combines concepts of symmetry and asymmetry to intentionally interlock the man-made geometrical and natural forms of the surroundings. On the west side of the rock lies a park for the royals, laid out on a symmetrical plan; the park contains water-retaining structures, including sophisticated surface/subsurface hydraulic systems, some of which are working even today.
The frescoes once covered an enormous area some 140 metres wide and 40 metres high, making it one of the largest murals in the world. More than 500 women were once depicted; some shown like celestial beings descending from above on clouds, a few can be seen even today.
According to local legend, the rock citadel was modeled on the mythical abode “Alakamandawa” of “Kuvera” the god of wealth, and called the “Palace in the sky”. The murals depicting pretty damsels with flowers in hand are believed to be goddesses descending from heaven.
Thus, this marvel Sigiriya, a hilltop palace, is viewed as a gateway between our world and the world of the gods.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+