A little about its history
Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress that has garnered international acclaim for its complex architecture, intricate frescoes and inimitable garden complex. The rock’s history can be traced back to the 3rd century BC which was utilized by King Kashyapa (between 477 – 495 AD) to build a garden and a palace. While many visitors are left perplexed as to why a king would choose such a forsaken rock to establish his palace, little do they know the bloody history that outlines the walls of this world wonder. Kashyapa was King Dhatunsena’s eldest son and was unfortunately not the successor to the throne. This led him to commit patricide and usurp his younger brother Moggallana’s rite to the throne. In fear of his brother, Kashyapa fled to the rock with the aim to protect himself. Upon capturing the rock, Kashyapa thereafter built the rock fortress as a measure of safety from his aggrieved brother.
What’s so interesting about it
Translated into English as the “Lion Rock”, the fortress is a huge granite rock that sits at a height of 320 metres and is quite an impressive sight to any visitor. Once you alight the steps, several architectural delights await you. The Mirror Wall which is visible from the outside is covered in white plaster as it has inscribed many hundreds of poems and experiences which are believed to have been written by visitors from long ago. The stairs will then take you to the famous Sigiriya frescoes. While there are many theories about these frescoes, no one really knows who the half-clad ladies were. The paintings are said to be one of the most unique and bear likenesses to the frescoes of Ajanta in India. While you enjoy some of history’s most intriguing cultural wonders, it just gets better with the impeccable Water Gardens that await one’s indulgence at the summit. Several landscape gardens and pools leave many in awe with its inexplicable architectural prowess. The Sigiriya Rock Fortress was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982 by UNESCO and was even considered to be the “Eighth World Wonder”.
How to get there and when
The rock fortress situated in the rural environs close to Dambulla offers insights to pristine nature. If you happen to visit during the peak season and find that hotels in Sigiriya are filled-up, you can always reach out to easier and more frequented options like Habarana and opt for establishments like Cinnamon Lodge Habarana. Though you can climb the rock throughout the year, the best time is generally from January to March when the weather is not too hot.
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+