Sigiriya was created by King Kasyapa who reigned between 477-495 AD. The summit of this almost inaccessible rock is 180 m (600 ft) above the surrounding forest, and was the setting for a courtly paradise of elegant pavilions amid gardens and pools. The rock was transformed into a crouching lion by the addition of a brick-built head and foreparts of which only the paws remain. The rock’s natural defenses were augmented by broad moats and stone perimeter walls. In the event of an enemy approach, the outer moat was built so as to flood the entire area between the two moats.

The Ancient City of Sigiriya holds the ruins of a former Sinhalese capital, including a rock fortress and palace. At the end of the 5th century, this enormous complex was constructed by Prince Kasyapa. Being in fear of an invasion, he tried to make it as impenetrable as possible. The site is also known as Lions Rock. At the level below the top, two very big lions paws give way to the final and most important stage of the complex, the palace. According to old descriptions, in the past you had to walk through the wide-open mouth of a lion to get there. Halfway on Sigiriya-rock, you can see very special fresco paintings. They are non-religious representations of women, of which some have been preserved very well. Some sources even say that the whole western face of the rock used to be covered with these paintings (of 500 women).

Gardens Sigiriya
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  • .Water Gardens: Just inside the inner wall of the western precinct lies the marble paved miniature water garden consisting of water pavilions, pools, cisterns, courtyards, conduits and water courses which hold the fascination of the visitors.
  • .Boulder Garden: At a higher level from the symmetrical water garden lies the boulder garden which is a totally different organic or asymmetrical concept, with winding pathways, natural boulders. It also has the Cistern Rock which has a large cistern made of huge slabs of granite. Besides, there is the Audience Hall rock, with a 5 metre long throne carved out of the rock.
  • .The Terrace Garden: Lying at the base of the rock, it is fashioned out of the natural hill, made with rubble retaining walls. Each terrace runs in a concentric circle around the rock, rising above the other.
  • .The Palace Garden: It was the domestic garden with plenty of terraces and rock cut pools. It is at the top of the summit.
The Sigiriya Paintings
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Sigiriya (Lion’s rock) is an ancient rock fortress and ruins of a castle situated in central Matale District of Sri Lanka. It is a popular tourist destination and also popular for the ancient paintings (frescos) very similar to the paintings in Ajanta Caves of India. It was built during the reign of King Kasyapa (477 – 495 AD) are believed to have been painted in the fifth century AD. It is believed that there were paintings all over the rock which were later destroyed, only 22 still remaining. These paintings were later restored by a reputed Italian artist named Luciano Maransi. The frescoes are the only non-religious old paintings in SriLanka. Photograph Taken in 1930-40s
Sigiriya Lion’s Paws
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At one time a gigantic brick lion sat at this end of the rock, and the final ascent to the top commenced with a stairway that led between the lion’s paws and into its mouth. The lion symbolism serves as a reminder to devotees ascending the rock that Buddha was Sakya-Sinha (Lion of the Sakya Clan) and that the truths he spoke of were as powerful as the sound of a lion’s roar. The 5th-century lion has since disappeared, apart from the first steps and the paws. Reaching the top means clambering up across a series of metal stairs, but you can still see the original grooves and steps cut into the rock
The Wildlife Sanctuary
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A massive rock formation almost directly opposite Sigiriya, Pidurangala has an equally majestic view as the former of rolling lake-and-land vistas. Short of viewing it through drone footage, the summit of Pidurangala is also the best possible place to get an eyeful the rock fortress itself. It's not merely all about stunning views though: Pidu isn't just another nameless rock, it has its own little history and backstories.

Other than just being a climbable rock which is nearly the same height as Sigiriya, Pidurangala was also a meditative retreat for monks. The hill is peppered with caves and little cells which were allegedly used by them. It's said that when King Kasyapa built the Sigiriya rock fortress, he relocated the monks there to Pidurangala, and then refurbished and expanded the monastery under his patronage.

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