Quietly nestled within a tropical garden across the street from the main entrance of Sri Lanka’s signature rock fortress lies a newly constructed institution dedicated to the palace among the clouds that is Sigiriya. Tipped to be one of the most captivating museums in all of South Asia, the Sigiriya Museum is dedicated to what is considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the world. As the country’s main authority on this monumental cultural attraction, the museum offers visitors an in-depth look into what makes the World Heritage Site a truly marvellous feat of ancient engineering and architecture while delving into its aesthetic appeal and points of interest as well.
Managed by the Central Cultural Fund the venue is tucked away in a lush, sheltered setting flanked by massive ponds and wildflowers abloom at every turn. Upon entering the museum visitors can expect to enjoy a visual journey back in time with the audiovisual presentation that is available to all guests who walk through its doors. Tourists can then move on to the expansive exhibition galleries via a passageway that closely resembles the rock fortresses’ own brick archways. Divided into a dozen sections, Exhibition Gallery One explores the Sigiriya site’s geological heritage via chronologically set up areas that have been sub-divided into thematic showcases. This includes exhibits that deal with the architectural elements of the rock fortress, the Buddhist shrines in the area, terracotta statues and even ancient graffiti poems. Employing models, plans, films, photographs and ancient artefacts, the museum’s six galleries explore the complex geological, architectural and historical background of the ancient edifice and its construction.
Other highlights include a stone tomb from the Ibbankatuwa cemetery which dates back to 4000 B.C and Buddha sculptures from various eras in the annals of Sri Lankan history. Elaborately embellished bronze earrings are on display at the museum which also houses a faux ‘Alakamanda” region that features a glass floor divided by railings. A spiral stairwell leads up to the Fresco Gallery which contains replicas of the fortresses’ famed maiden paintings. A souvenir kiosk and gift shop is also located at the site for those who wish to take home a treasured reminder of their visit.
Travellers in search of luxury hotels in Sigiriya will find no finer alternative to Sigiriya Village. Ideally located within view of the monumental rock fortress that is its namesake, this resplendent Sigiriya hotel is an elegant hideaway with uniquely themed guest quarters.