There were many landmarks in ancient Sri Lanka, some still being referred to, while the others have been left to go into extinction. Among the fortunate few is the ancient Kingdom of Sigiriya. A settlement that first got its name from “The Sigiriya” or the “Lion Rock” like it is fondly called is a massive rock of about 200 meters (660ft) high.
The Kingdom is located in the Mattale district, near Dambulla in the central province, Sri Lanka. Archaeologist and researchers say the site was first chosen by King Kasyapa( 477- 495 CE) for his capital. He built this palace on top of the rock and painted its sides with frescoes. He also built a gateway in the form of a gigantic lion on a small plateau close to the rock. Although immediately after the passing of the King, the palace was abandoned and taken over by Buddhist until around the 14th century.
The Kingdom of Sigiriya only existed after a king named Dhatusena, who had two sons from two different wives, Prince Mugalan and Prince Kasyapa were killed by the then Prince Kasyapa with the help of the Army general Migara. Prince kasyapa ascended the throne and his brother Prince Mugalan fleed from the then ancient Kingdom of Anuradhapura to India.
Now King Kasyapa fearing that his brother would come with a large army from India and attack him built a refuge for himself at the peak of the great rock Sigiriya. During his reign (477 – 495 CE) Sigiriya Kingdom was created. His brother Prince Mugalan returned 18years, with a large army and went into battle with his brother. King Kasyapa was killed, his brother took reign of the kingdom and ruled from Anuradhapura and gave the Sigiriya region to Buddhists.
Although King Kasyapa ended up the villain in the tragic tussle of power, some believe he built Sigiriya in memory of his father; others believe he was a playboy king, he didn’t have much of a fond memory by the Sri Lankan people. He is still remembered by the Sri Lankan people as a ruler with an unrivaled imagination. Creating a Sri Lankan style of art which could challenge any structure as at that time. The Kingdom Sigiriya has been abandoned since about 1150 AD and was forgotten for the next seven centuries.
The Sigiriya was rediscovered later on by Major H Forbes in 1831 under the British rule. It is a very incredible sight to behold even if it’s majorly a pile of ruins, the frescoes and paintings are still an archaeological wonder, there were about 500 of such paintings during the reign of King Kasyapa, but there are only about 21 of such paintings remaining now.
The Royal pleasure gardens, water gardens, etc. built by King Kasyapa has made the site an ecological wonder and a possible tourist site for the traveler that will want to visit Sri Lanka today.
The Sigiriya is without a doubt one of the best-preserved relics of ancient urban planning and is currently listed on the world heritage site by UNESCO.
Here is the near by mountain called Pidurangala. Travel destination. Mean time check other tourism destinations such as SrI Lanka , Ella Hike plus train ride Sri Lanka and Amazing Beaches. Sri Lanka is truly travelers island with great history.
See you in another good Article. 🙂