Located on top of a rock plateau overlooking verdant jungle and a vast plain is Sigiriya, the mysterious remains of the 5th-century fortress of King Kasyapa. These ruins of Sigiriya are the most unique of the ancient sites in Sri Lanka. When it was built, the fort sat on top and around the 1.5 hectare rock with a city at its base. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the fortified town. A moat, ramparts and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock.
Sigiriya rose to prominence following a power struggle between two brothers and the then kingn walled-up alive by his son, Kasyapa. Fearful that his brother would return from exile to extract vengeance, Kasyapa shifted the capital to Sigiriya and in 477 AD, he ordered the construction of the city around the base of the rock, and his palace on top, a fortress that would keep him safe from retribution.
Further exploration of the site requires ascension by a rickety looking staircase (which is steep at some points so hold on). The climb leads to the awesome Fresco Gallery, which depicts 1500-year old painted frescoes depicting portraits of well-endowed ‘apsaras’ (celestial nymphs) and attendants above clouds. Located beneath an overhang 90 metres up the rock, the 20 or so frescoes that remain are remarkably preserved. On from this point is the Mirrow Wall and Lion Terrace which comprises a gigantic set of lion paws, all that remains of what was once a gargantuan statue of a lion. Above here on the final staircase ascent are the ruins of the Summer Palace.
Sigiriya is near Kandy. Listed below are some of our Holidays with Kandy