- Location: 3 hours drive from Colombo
- Attraction Type: A historic remain
- Significance: A UNESCO World Heritage Site representing Buddhist Art and Architecture
- Best Time to Visit: October to March
- Visiting Hours: Early daytime or early evenings before sundown
- How to Reach: By bus, taxi
- Nearest International Airport: Bandaranaike International Airport
Sigiriya or the Mount of Remembrance is a majestic rock fortress towering amidst verdant green jungles. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an attribute in nature, technology, design, graffiti, and aesthetics. Sigiriya served as a fortress, a pleasure garden, an ancient Lankan capital, a monastery, and a temple. Sigiriya in Sri Lanka is a totality of the gigantic Mountain Lion, the water gardens, frescos, the mirror wall and the rock palace at the summit.
History of Sigiriya dates back to prehistoric times. In about 3rd century BC, Sigiriya was used as a mountain monastery by Buddhist monks with caves being prepared and donated by devotees. Subsequently in the 5th century AD King Kasyapa built a palace and garden city. King Kasyapa wrongfully ascended the throne by killing his father King Dhatusena. Fearing an invasion from his half brother Mogallana built a fortress and rock palace between 477 and 495 AD. However, Kasyap could not escape from Mogallana and committed suicide. After Kasyap’s death, the fort once again was used as a monastery till about the 14th century.
The significance of Sigiriya in Colombo perhaps lies in the fact that it has been able to lure tourists, archaeologists, historians, artists, and filmmakers each for their own specific interest. Archaeologists are amazed by the palace built on the summit of the lion rock. Geometrically laid water gardens, two rectangular precincts of 90 hectares and 40 hectares, and stairways leading from between the paws of a lion at the bottom to the top ending in the mouth are baffling. Artists remain spellbound by the fresco paintings of heavenly maidens on the walls halfway up the staircase. These maidens represent Goddess Tara, the savior.
Beyond the fresco, gallery stands the mirror walls which has inscriptions dating back to the 11th century. These inscriptions are impressions about the fresco paintings and a source of information for historians and calligraphists. These inscriptions form the basis of the development of Sinhalese script and language.
Visit Sigiriya in its entirety: the water gardens, the frescos, the mirror wall with graffiti, the lion platform and the summit palace.
Sigiriya Village is the nearest accommodation to Sigiriya. You could also select from Kandalama Hotel, Habarana Lodge, Habarana Village, Hotel Corporation of Sri Lanka Rest House, and Culture Club for staying.
Near Sigiriya, there are a number of hospitable restaurants serving local delicacies and Chinese cuisine.
Related Links :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFkw7CepJmM: For an authentic traveler’s view of the popular Sigiriya Rock near Colombo, watch this video!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYut4ckTpHI&feature=related: Click here for a comprehensive and informative video on the Sigiriya fortress in Sri Lanka.