The word Sigiriya means the Lion Rock. This magnificent complex centering a 200 meter high rock consists of geometrically laid gardens; pools, fountains as well as the oldest surviving frescos of maidens were the palace of King Kasyapa.
Sigiriya is probably the single most remarkable memory for any visitor to the landmark.
This rock fortress built in the 5th Century AD was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare, was the site of the old palace, the outer wall of which was built on the very brink of the precipice. Running water trickled through channels beneath the floor and fed the Royal Summer House.
Climbing up the rock you will see a caged spiral staircase leading you to the beautiful frescos of the Sigiriya maidens in a sheltered grotto. It said in the Sri Lanka’s oldest Graffiti that there were some 500 damsels or Apsaras painted but today all but 22 remain. You will next encounter the Mirror Wall which bares this so called Graffiti of prose and poems. The wall distinguished by the extraordinary coating of polished lime which even today, after 1500 years, still gleam and reflect like glass.
A climb to the top is rewarded by a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. The most significant feature of the Rock would have been the Lion staircase leading to the palace garden on the summit. The gigantic Lion which once crouched here, half emerged from its den, who’s menacing jaws would have intimidated the most boldest man entering the city. Sadly, all that remains now are the two colossal paws and a mass of brick masonry that surround the ancient limestone steps.
At the base of the rock are the fascinating Rock and Water gardens. These gardens are decorated with ponds, fountains and promenades showing a glorious past.Places of Interest