Located in the heart of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is an enchanting blend of natural landscape and human creativity: an original human work and sometimes surreal, celebrated by locals as "the eighth wonder of the world".
Sigiriya, known as the Lion Rock, is located in the central district of Sri Lanka. To explain better, it is a spectacular natural formation, dominated by a massive rocky column height almost 200 meters. The amazing aspect is that at the top of the rock there is a fortified palace built in ancient time by King Kasyapa (477 - 495 d.C.).
According to the legend, fearing the revenge of his brother, which killed the father and usurped the throne with the force, Kasyapa decided to build a fortified palace right on the rocky massif of Sigiriya, which was considered impregnable. To better protect Himself and his people, He decided to surround the rock by two large moats defense, which fulfilled of crocodiles.
He created a residence of exceptional splendor and decided to establish the capital of his kingdom exactly there on the top of the world. After 11 years, the betrayed brother managed to take the original throne and was crowned king in his own time. At that time, He decided to report the capital of the kingdom in its original location, Anuradapura, and transformed Sigiriya in a monastery.
The rock was embellished by the realization of hanging gardens, channels and fountains. A stairway of rock still leads from the base to the top of the mountain.
However, according to new studies conducted by the archaeologist Raja da Silva, the site of Sigiriya would not have been the mythical capital of a kingdom, but a center of monk’s followers of Mahayana Buddhism, while women portrayed in murals would be nothing more than the female divinities of Buddhist pantheon.
The excursion in the archaeological complex turns out to be quite challenging but it worth the effort. First, you will cross the water gardens with swimming pools and marble tubs, you will continue for the rock garden. When you arrive to the most external ditch, it is necessary to deal with a difficult ascent of about 1200 steps to arrive to the top.
In the middle of the path can be sighted a pair of huge paws of a lion, that once formed the entering of the upper building. Probably the complete structure of the Lion Rock was much more extended at that time and included the head and body. The whole structure reached presumably 14 meters of height.
Today you can still admire frescoes that decorate the surfaces of the rock. Originally, the frescoes occupy a surface of 140 meters length and 40 meters of height. According to the legend the frescoes included at least 500 women painted.
After visiting the rock, you can also see from the top that there is another rock not so far from there. The best thing to do is to reach also this rock, climb it and see the spectacular panorama from there. You can admire Sigiriya in from of you but not from the ground, from another perspective.
Whatever its origin, if you are willing to make a little effort, once arrived at the top of the feeling is extraordinary. Here you breathe stories and legends. Moreover, from here you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
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