Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization, thought to be once the epicenter of the short-lived kingdom of Kassapa, and there are spellbinding vistas across mist-wrapped forests in the early morning.
Sigiriya refuses to reveal its secrets easily, and you’ll have to climb a series of vertiginous staircases attached to sheer walls to reach the top. On the way you’ll pass a series of quite remarkable frescoes and a pair of colossal lion’s paws carved into the bedrock. The surrounding landscape – lily-pad-covered moats, water gardens and quiet shrines – and the excellent site museum, only add to Sigiriya’s rock-star appeal.
The story of Sigiriya is one of vision, grandeur, beauty and tragedy unparalleled in Sri Lankan history. Built 1,600 years ago, by a brilliant but tormented king, it burst briefly into pre-eminence with breathtaking architecture and art and then quickly faded away into oblivion and was soon forgotten.
Few historic sites in the world have such an interesting tale to tell as that of Sigiriya.
The story of Sigiriya is the tale of King Kasyapa who ruled between 477 and 495AD. A troubled but visionary king; Kasyapa murdered his father by plastering him up in a wall. Rejected by his people for his crime and tormented by guilt he abandoned his magnificent capital of Anuradhapura and fled deep in the forests of central Sri Lanka. There in an area dominated by a menacing black column of rock 600 feet high he built himself a new capital resplendent with lush gardens, palaces and pavilions.
He transformed the sinister-looking black rock to appear like a huge dazzling white cloud and painted it with beautiful frescoes of semi-naked nymphs. He also build a massive gatehouse in the form of a lion to guard the entrance to the inmost sanctum of his city; the Sky Palace on top of the rock.
Hidden from view and surrounded by his courtiers and harem, Kasyapa lived in splendid isolation. He was, however, deeply troubled by his responsibility for the death of his father. He carried out many good works and observed his religious duties diligently hoping, no doubt, to find some salvation for his troubled conscience.
Things to Do:
Sigiriya World Heritage Site / Explore Sigiriya / Pidurangala Rock / Sigiriya Museum / Sigiri Safari / Photo Shoots / Ayurveda Spa Treatments / Research Process
Approximately Time & Distance from Colombo: 4 h 11 min (178.9 km)
Province: Central Province | District: Matale District
Luxury Hotels in Area:
Amaya Lake Resort | Approximately Price Range: 100 to 110 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Fresco Water Villa | Approximately Price Range: 100 to 110 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Normal Hotels in Area:
Elephas Resort Sigiriya | Approximately Price Range: 100 to 110 USD | Click here to see the hotel
Kumbura Eco Lodge | Approximately Price Range: 60 to 70 USD | Click here to see the hotel