Sigiriya also known as Lion Rock holds a rich historical significance, referred as one of the 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. This ancient palace and fortress complex has mind-blowing archeological value that attracts thousands of tourists every year.
This massive rocky plateau towering 200m rises above the thick jungle in the central plains of Sri Lanka. King Kashyapa built it after he shifted his capital to Sigiriya.According to another version of history, some may consider this place had a special connection with Ravana. Sigiriya Rock to be the site of Ravana‘s glittering palace, made of solid gold and crafted by Kubera.
This place got its name from the Lion claws, carved at the entrance of the Lion Gate. You can reach the Sigiriya Fortress through the main towns of Dambulla or Habarane.
Beautiful gardens and moats surround this palace. Also, you’ll explore some of Sri Lanka’s best sights, including hilltop forts, frescoes, and wildlife-filled nature reserves.
Frescoes of maidens (paintings made in wet plaster on walls) adorn the western inner walls of Sigiriya. It was almost entirely covered by frescoes created during the reign of Kasyapa. Among these frescoes eighteen frescoes have remained up to this day.The frescoes considered to be either portraits of Kadapa’s wives and concubines or priestesses performing religious rituals. Despite the unknown identity of these female paintings, it indicates the uniqueness of female beauty and has incredible talent of ancient art.
One of the most striking features of Sigiriya is its Mirror wall. It is a plastered brick parapet wall with a two-meter-wide inner passageway. The inscriptions and poems on it by its ancient visitors date back to the 6th century. These inscriptions prove that Sigiriya was a tourist destination more than a thousand years ago. Today, writings on the wall are strictly prohibited
The most iconic structure of the Sigiriya fortress, Lion’s Paws is situated just before the summit of Sigiriya Rock. The structure is composed of two gigantic paws, adjoining a staircase that leads to the royal palace. The attraction was initially an exquisitely formed and enormous structure of the head, chest and paws of a crouching lion with open jaws, guarding the entrance to King Kashyapa’s royal palace. But all that remains today are the paws, a reminder of the significance and opulence of King Kashyapa’s reign.
It is best to come as early as possible in the morning (before 9 am), as the heat is stifling and there is some physical effort to climb Sigiriya all the stairs. Arriving first, you will also avoid the growing crowd to come sightseeing on the rock.
The opening hours of Sigiriya Lion Rock are from 7am to 5.30pm every day.
Entrance to Sigiriya Lion Rock Tourist Site costs $ 30 (LKR rate will change according to month’s exchange rate)
It takes between 1:30 and 2:00 hours to travel between Kandy and Sigiriya depending on the crowd and the fitness