How to reach
Sigiriya is situated about 173 km away from Colombo and can be reached via Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Trincomalee Hwy/Ambepussa – Trincomalee Hwy/Colombo Rd/Kandy Rd/A6
The palace is located in the heart of the island between the towns of Dambulla and Habarane on a massive rocky plateau 370 meters above the sea level. Sigiriya is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka close to Dambulla. It is a fortress complex of a ruined palace and one of the World Heritage sites declared by UNESCO. Undoubtedly the most treasured historical monument in Sri Lanka and probably the most visited tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, The most looked forward feature of the fortress is the frescoes. Another fascinating detail is its mirror wall. Every step from the entrance to the top is a marvel on its own, and the interesting surroundings makes the tedious climb to the top easy.
The fortress complex includes remnants of a ruined palace, surrounded by an extensive network of fortifications, vast gardens, ponds, canals, alleys and fountains.Since 3th century BC the rocky fortress of Sigiriya served as a monastery. In the second half of the 5th century king Kasyapa decided to construct a royal residence here.After his death Sigiriya again became a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century, when it was abandoned.
The main entrance is located in the northern side of the rock.It was designed in the form of a huge stone lion, whose feet have survived up to today but the upper parts of the body were destroyed.Thanks to this lion the palace was named Sigiriya. The term Sigiriya originates from the word Sihagri, i.e. Lion Rock.The western wall of Sigiriya was almost entirely covered by frescoes, created during the reign of Kasyapa. Eighteen frescoes have survived to this day.The frescoes are depicting nude females and are considered to be either the portraits of Kasyapa’s wives and concubines or priestess performing religious rituals.
Things to do & Places to visit
Dambulla is a popular tourist destination in Sri Lanka. The popular cave temple complex in Dambulla dated to the 2nd century BC is declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. There are over 80 caves in Dambulla, some of which are used for meditation by monks. The Famous Rock temple has five separate caves containing 153 magnificent Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan monarchs and 4 Hindu deities
Pidurangala is a massive rock formation located a few kilometers north of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. It has an interesting history closely related to that of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Being less grand and far more difficult to climb it is often overlooked by tourists.
Like Sigiriya, Pidurangala was formed by volcanic activity. Whilst Pidurangala appears larger than Sigiriya; its upper surface is steeply sloped and is of solid rock. For this reason it was not suitable for large-scale building activity. The rocky outcrops that surround the central rock gives one an indication of what the area around Sigiriya may have looked like prior to its clearing and preparation as a royal citadel.The Pidurangala area has been occupied on and off for over two thousand five hundred years by monks who lived in the caves around the site. It really came into prominence when King Kasyapa (477- 495 AD), who built Sigiriya, moved monks living around Sigiriya Rock to a newly refurbished and enlarged temple and monastery here at Pidurangala.
Wild Life (Minnerya National Park)
Minneriya Park is a national park in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population. Sri Lankan Leopard and Sloth bear which are rare and endangered species also inhabit this area. The park was declared as a wild life sanctuary in order to protect the watershed of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is historically important for the country as it was built by King Mahasen in the 3rd century AD.