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).