Sri Lanka's Sigiriya: where nature meets architectural splendour
Sri Lanka's Sigiriya: where nature meets architectural splendour

Sri Lanka's Sigiriya: where nature meets architectural splendour

At Sigiriya, take in the natural beauty of the plateau and the architectural splendour of the ancient fortress
Sigiriya – the mansion in the sky - is an architectural marvel. The rocky citadel rises up like a majestic lion, ascending to a lofty height of nearly 200 metres from the surrounding plains. It has rightly been considered as the 8th wonder of the world by the Sri Lankans and is one of their most visited tourist attractions. The rocky fortress and the adjoining garden complex is nearly 1600 years old, dating back to the 5th Century AD.
Sigiriya is situated close to the village of Dambulla, which is about 100 kms from Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, Kandy. An early start from Kandy will ensure that one can reach the fortress and start the climb before it gets extremely hot.
As we approach the ancient site, we wonder at the sheer ingenuity of King Kashyapa who built his palace atop the hill and created a small city for his people around it. He deployed scientific methods for building gardens and underground reservoirs.
The story of King Kashyapa’s life is filled with intrigue and drama. He was born as the eldest son of the then king Dhatusena. But Kashyapa was denied his rights as the rightful heir to the throne as he was born to the King’s concubine, and was thus considered illegitimate. His step-brother, Mogallana claimed the title of ‘yuva raja’ or ‘crown prince’ as his mother was the royal queen of King Dhatusena.
Kashyapa resented this, so killed his father and took control of the kingdom. Mogallana, fearing for his life, fled to India. Kashyapa crowned himself the King. But worried that his brother might return to attack him, he decided to build his fortress and palace atop the huge lion-like structured rock. Thus, Sigiriya, the impregnable citadel was born. From the top, it provided unhindered views of the surrounding plains.
Today, we can climb several flights of steps, up the rock to reach the top. Half way through, we get to see the huge claws of a seated lion that King Kashyapa had got sculpted.

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