The Rock Fortress Sigiriya of Sri Lanka is situated in Matale district near Dambulla. It is reachable conveniently through Colombo – Habarana highway by turning towards east from Inamaluwa. Proceeding about 10 km from Inamaluwa and passing Kimbissa town you can arrive in Sigiriya. Ranked and prestigiously known as the eighth Wonder of the World, Sigiriya Rock fortress is also an ecological wonder that must not be missed by travellers who love nature. It is one of the world heritage sites in Sri Lanka that the tour operators such as Nkar Travel House who organise excursions around the country will not miss in their itineraries.
Before Sigiriya became a Kingdom, Sigiriya Rock base and the places such as Pidurangala which were endowed with many caves and a temple had been used by Buddhist monks from around 3rd Century BC. These areas had been inhabitant by people prior to King Kassapa’s rein. Many caves have Brahmin inscriptions dating back from 3rd Century BC to 1st century AD.
Dhatusena became the King of Anuradhapura in 459 AD, defeating the Indian invader ‘Pandu’. King Dhatusena was the ruler who constructed Kala Wewa or the Kala Wewa Tank, by building a dam across Kala Oya, which is a small river type. He had two sons from two of his queens. They were Mugalan from the head queen and Kassapa from a companion queen. Prince Kashyapa, with the help of the general of the army of King Dhatusena, named Migara, got his father killed and became the King. Prince Mugalan, fearing for his life, escaped to India. The Buddhist Bhikkus and the people were against his conduct and favoured Prince Mugalan for the rulership. Fearing that Mugalan will come with an army from India to avenge him at a later day, King Kassapa went ahead and made Sigiriya as his kingdom. During his rule of eighteen years from 477 AD to 495 AD Sigiriya Kingdom was created. It is widely believed that he sought the refuge of Sigiriya rock for his safety fearing for his life.
Prince Mugalan returned back to the island with an army from India after 18 years to fight with King Kassapa. During the ensuing battle Kassapa killed himself thus Mugalan became the King. He returned the kingdom back to Anuradhapura and ruled the country from there and handed over Sigiriya back to the Buddhist priests. Sigiriya as a Kingdom was abandoned in around 1150 AD and was almost forgotten for the next seven centuries. Even though King Kashyapa is not regarded in high esteem in Sri Lankan history of kings and rulers due to his dubious conduct, he is credited as the ruler with an unsurpassed imagination put into reality to create a Sri Lankan style marvel of high calibre art and engineering skills that could even challenge the rest of the renowned world structures at that time. These are definitely amazing even in the 21st century as masterpieces with what is remaining as ruins of Sigiriya Kingdom.
Varunajith Dayaratne is a creative nomadic travel writer, writing under the pen name, Sirius Black. He is well informed and experienced on a wide range of interests pertaining to the needs of any type of traveler.