Sigiriya Lion Rock, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Lion Rock

One knows that Sigiriya Sri Lanka is the Eighth Wonder of the World.!

Prepare yourself for a little challenge and conquer the 1200+ steps to the top. Don’t get scared, this is an absolute you must visit in Sri Lanka! The climb is marked with good paths and stairs. The start at the terraces gardens gives you the most impressive perspective of the rock.

During your way up to a breather at Sigiriya Frescoes (old wall drawings), mirror wall and at the lion claws carved out of the rock which is right before the last climb.

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Sigiriya Lion Rock

Come & see this ancient stone fortress expressed as the eighth wonder of the world. Unbelievable technical, stone methods, wall Arts with beautiful environment shows you the unlimited talent of the Sri Lankan aborigines.

This world historical monument located at Mathale District of Sri Lanka. According to the Sri Lankan history, the king Kashyapa created this Lion’s rock for hide from his brother’s attacks. After the king’s death the Sigiriya named as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.

History of Sigiriya

According to the researches of Dr Mirando Obesekara, He identify the Sigiriya as a historical turning point of Ravana. Before 50 centuries Sigiriya named as Alakamandawa (Akasa Maligawa).

The Indian ancient epic story “Ramayanaya” described the brother of Rawana (Kuwera/Waisrwana) is the owner of the Alakamandawa (Sigiriya). According to the Ravana watha Palm leaf book, Mayadanawa is the Architecture of the Sigiriya. He buid the Sigiriya according to instruction given by Vessamuni / Wishrawa Muni (Father of Ravana). Finally palace was dedicated for Ravana’s Brother King Kuwera (Waishrawana). After-wards the Ravana has banished the Kuwera & got the Sigiriya under his Control.

Sigiriya Era – 5th Century

The history of Sigiriya is a long story. The rock came into being as a result of a rivalry between two brothers. The great rock fortress, Sigiriya was built by the King Kashyapa. King Kashyapa made this great place to protect himself from his brother King Mogallana. The Sigiriya rock is entwined with a tragic event. The heir to the throne had been King Mogallana, but King Kashyapa had taken power by force. King Kashyapa was afraid that his brother would come back again to take back his right to the throne. Therefore, to protect himself, he built this rock fortress. He did not want any invasion to happen by his brother. The technology that has been used in creating the fort is excellent.

The Sigiriya rock is decorated with colorful frescos. However, Moggallana was able to defeat Kashyapa, and after that, the rock fortress was destroyed. Earlier it used to be a Buddhist monastery, and after the palace was destroyed, it became a Buddhist monastery once again. Sigiriya was discovered later in 1831 by Europeans. A major of the British army, Jonathan Forbes discovered Sigiriya on his way from Polonnaruwa. Many historians and archaeologists started excavating this rock fortress, and it is through the excavations that all the glory of the rock was discovered. One who goes to the top of the rock would see that it is a citadel, with gardens, and parks. Sigiriya is a massive rock which was built for protection, and the technology that has been used is advanced. Its layout and the planning technology used in Sigiriya is extraordinary.

Sigiri Frescoes

The walls of Sigiriya are believed to have originally been plastered and painted white to convey the idea of purity, similar to the manner in which the city of gods was depicted in the ancient world. But Kashyapa was more intent on creating a magnificent spectacle that would stand out and capture the attention of anyone who visited the citadel.

The king possessed a harem of more than 500 concubines, who were admired for their sensuous and exotic beauty. Therefore, it is widely believed that they were the inspiration for the golden skinned, bare breasted women that make up the ‘Sigiri Frescoes’. The intricate and lavish gem studded jewelry that adorns the women in these paintings also suggest that they may have been members of the royal family, namely Kashyapa’s daughters. There is also a belief that the paintings depict apsaras, or goddesses, that are emerging from the heavens to bless the citadel. This is corroborated by similar depictions in the Ajanta Caves of the Gupta period in Maharashtra, India. Some historians even believe that the drawings are really depictions of celestial nymphs who are believed to have been protectors of the Rock Fortress. What we see now is just part of what was supposed to be one of the oldest and most intricate picture galleries in the ancient world.

Mirror Wall

The ‘Mirror Wall’, was once so highly polished, that when the king walked along the drip ledge, he could see his own reflection in it. Subsequently, the wall functioned as a stone tablet, recording the thoughts and experiences of those who came to visit the fabled rock. Prof. Senarat Paranavitana’s work in deciphering these inscriptions is foremost. The poetry and prose carved into the ‘Mirror Wall’ describe the culture, lifestyle and environs of Sigiriya. Referred to as ‘Kurutu Gee’, these words have fascinated both history and literature enthusiasts throughout the generations.
Over 1000 unique words stemming from the main languages of the country – Sinhala and Tamil, have been identified from these writings. However, there are also prose written in the ancient language of Sanskrit, showing that visitors from the main continent ventured to see this sentinel. More than 850 individuals’ names have been inscribed on the wall, of which 12 of them were women.

The importance of the Sigiri ‘Kurutu Gee’ in Sri Lankan culture cannot be stressed enough as these act as primary sources to understand just how life was back in the day, and how this rock functioned after the death of King Kashyapa.
An intriguing passage of prose that depicts the beauty of the Sigiri Frescoes reads:

Wet with cool dew drops
fragrant with perfume from the flowers
came the gentle breeze jasmine and water lily
dance in the spring sunshine
side-long glances of the golden hued ladies stab into my thoughts
heaven itself cannot take my mind
as it has been captivated by one lass
among the five hundred I have seen here.

Another reads:

Like a Luffs flower entangled in a blue Clitoris flower, the golden-complexioned one who stood with the lily-colored one will be remembered at eventide

A poem that embodies the joy of the traveler venturing through the rock fortress reads:
May you remain for a thousand years, like the figure of the hare the King of the gods painted on the orb of the moon, though that to my mind be like a single day
The ingenious planning and building of the ‘Mirror Wall’, allowed visitors to access the Boulder Gardens or climb up to the Lion’s Paws from it.

Water Fountain and the Water Management System of Sigiriya

On the top of the rock, there is evidence of Water Gardens and fountains. The technology of the water management system used on top of the rock is marvelous. The Fountain Garden is evidence of Sigiriya’s hydraulics. There is also a miniature water garden. All these are evidence of the excellent water management systems.

Engineering Technology of Sigiriya

The layout is organized in a way that on either side of the roads to the western entrance there are rectangular pools. In front of the pools, there are limestone fountains. The technology used is much advanced, and it is hard to believe how there could have been such technology during the ancient times.

Garden Escaping of Sigiriya

The Sigiriya Garden escaping structures are evidence of ancient botanical garden’s. The landscape is eye-catching, and it is a mix of natural floral species. The planning is well laid out. It is a wonder to look at the garden escaping which is unique to the Sigiriya rock.

Pidurangala Rock

Pidurangala is an enormous rock located a few kilometers north of Sigiriya. The two rocks have an interlinked history, whilst King Kashyapa was building Sigiriya Rock Fortress in the 5th century, he moved monks living around Sigiriya to a new monastery on Pidurangala Rock. An ancient cave temple still houses objects from various vintages that reflect Buddhist, Hindu and western beliefs, and the stupa to the left of the temple entrance is believed to mark the spot where King Kashyapa was cremated.

Pidurangala is a more challenging climb than Sigiriya, so should not be attempted by those with poor physical fitness. There is no clear path to the top: steep, uneven steps give way to an expanse of boulders and crevices that climbers must navigate in order to reach the summit. From the top, there are glorious vistas of the surrounding landscape and an incredible view of the majestic Sigiriya Rock.

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