Sigiriya – The Lion’s Rock

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Sigiriya rock fortress is located in near Dambulla Town comes under Northern Matale district, in central province of Sri Lanka. And 175 kilometers north-east of Colombo – the capital of the island It is also known as known as the Lion’s Rock. Due to its importance and significant archaeological value palace and fortress complex has known as Eighth Wonder of the World. Sigiriya is palace is built by King Kashyapa during the 473 – 495 reigns.

Sigiriya Rock is approximately about 660 feet and 370 meters above the sea level. There is about 1250 of staircase steps headings to the highest point of Sigiriya. Approximately its take 2 hours reach top point of Sigiriya depend on your speed.

Sigiriya is famous Travel destination among the travelers in the world, also UNESCO named Sigiriya rock as a World Heritage in 1982 under the name “Ancient City of Sigiriya Sri Lanka”. Also it’s surrounded by gardens, ponds and other structures. Sigiriya attracts thousands of travelers every year. Sigiriya is one of the most visited tourist destination of Sri Lanka. Its view surprises the tourists with unique harmony between the human and nature.

Because of the high temperatures during the day it is better to visit the place in the morning. Wear comfortable clothing, take water with you and don’t forget to bring a hat and sunscreen.

History of Sigiriya

Excavation has discovered remains of pre-historic human settlements in Sigiriya were around 5,500 years B.P. Also, there is indication of human habitation in this area is runs far back in history as the 9th — 10th centuries B.C. Earlier is was a rock-shelter mountain monastery which was donated by Buddhist devotees Within the period of third century B.C and the first century A.D.. Later King Kashyapa renovated it by building gardens and palace. After his death it was again used as a monastery. Sigiriya was rediscovered by Major Jonathan Forbes in 1831 of the 78th Highlanders of the British army while returning on horseback from a trip to Polonnaruwa came across the “bush covered summit of Sigiriya”. Sigiriya came to the attention of antiquarians and later archaeologists.

The main entrance to the Rock is located in the northern side. It was designed in the model of a huge stone lion, however today upper parts of the body of lion were destroyed and only its feet have survived. One of the most outstanding features of Sigiriya is its Mirror wall. In the ancient days it was polished so thoroughly that the king could see his reflection in it. The Mirror wall was painted with engravings and poems which has written by the visitors of Sigiriya. The most ancient engravings are dated from the 8th century. These engravings are proving that Sigiriya was a tourist destination more than a thousand years ago. Today, painting on the wall is strictly prohibited.

Structure of The Lion Rock

Sigiriya Rock Fortress being the castle had been well designed for its defenses by having parapets and moats built around it. There are numerous approaches to the inner city and the most prominent is the Western entrance. The land areas up to distances of 10 miles can be watched from the top of the rock, this is making it hard for the enemy to make a surprise attack to the kingdom.

King Kashyapa had added his fortress to an ecological wonder through having Water Gardens, Fountain Gardens, Royal Pleasure Gardens and Boulder Gardens made inside the inner city as well as at the palace premises on the Rock pinnacle. Also its proven that ancient water technology had been tremendous stage since there are water fountains that are man made and that are still working. And there are Ponds in Sigiriya rock summit which received water to be filled from a lower elevation.

Moreover the Sigiriya Rock is actually a toughened magma plug from an extinct volcano. One of the most major features of the rock would be the Lion staircase leading to the garden of the palace. The Lion could be envisaged as a huge figure towering against the granite cliff. The opened mouth of the Lion leads to the staircase which is built using bricks and timber. However the only remains of this majestic structure are the two feet and the granite walls surrounding it. However the groves and scratches in the rock face give an impression of a lion figure. The Sigiriya complex itself consists of the central rock and two rectangular grounds which are surrounded by three ramparts and two moats the city is based on a square module.

Frescos (Paintings)

The western wall of Sigiriya was almost entirely covered by wall painting, which was created during the reign of King Kashyapa. However to this day only eighteen wall paintings have survived. The wall painting are portraying nude females and are considered to be either the portraits of King Kashyapa’s wives and concubines or priestess performing religious rituals. Also the ladies illustrated in the paintings have been identified as Apsaras. Despite the unknown identity of the females portrayed in the wall painting, these unique ancient paintings are demonstrate female beauty and have incredible historical significance.

Things to do in Sigiriya

  • Climb Sigiriya Rock (Lion Rock)
  • Climb Pidurangala Rock
  • Discover things at The Sigiriya Museum
  • Safari tour to watch the Elephants at Minneriya National Park
  • Safari tour at Kaudulla National Park
  • Go on Cycling Tour Of Sigiriya
  • A Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Discover Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Elephant Ride around Sigiriya

Sigiriya Rock – FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Who has built the Sigiriya rock?
King Kashyapa built the famous Sigiriya lion rock.

How many steps are in Lion Rock Sigiriya to Climb?
Approximately 1,200 steps are to be climbed to the summit. 

What is the height of the lion rock sigiriya?
Its 660 Feet from surrounding plain 

Is it hard or danger to climb lion rock Sigiriya?
Its is not danger to climb but make sure you are healthy enough to climb 1,200. 

Can senior citizen climb Sigiriya lion rock fortress?
Yes people do and you may take time and climb. There are places for you to take rest and climb. 
We suggest you to keep senior citizen in nearby restaurant and climb. Also you may let them to visit the Sigiriya museum close to the main gate. 

Can I climb lion rock with my infant or kid?
Not recommended but people do climb with kids like 8 Y and above. 

Opening time of Sigiriya lion rock for visitors?
7.00 AM to 5.00 PM

Entrance fees for lion rock Sigiriya
30 USD per person / Foreign 15 USD per person only for SAARC Countries nationals (Need to submit the passport to get this discount) 

What is the best time to climb Sigiriya lion rock?
Ideally in the morning 8 – 10 Am or 3 – 5 PM to avoid hot sun 

What is the temperature of Sigiriya lion rock?
Approximately 27 – 30 C 

Can I buy Sigiriya lion rock entrance fees ticket online?
Not yet as of now but this will be online soon

What is the dress code for Sigiriya Lion rock?
Sigiriya is not a temple or any religious place and you can wear your own dress. 
⦁ C.C.F. – Central Cultural Fund Sri Lanka.
⦁ SLTDA.- Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority 
⦁ SLITHM – Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management 

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