Sigiriya rock fortress

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Sigiriya rock, also known as the rock fortress and palace in the sky was built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century AD. It is located in the Northern Matale District, in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, approx 169 Km North of Colombo. King Kasyapa built his palace on the upper flat top of this rock which is 660 ft high. The terrace at the mid level of the rock is the Lion gate and the mirror wall decorated with colourful frescoes depicting the heavenly maidens. The rock structure was derived from the word “Sihagiri” meaning Lion rock. The highly landscaped gardens of Sigiriya forms one of the most important aspect of this site which is divided into three parts, namely, the water gardens, cave & boulder garden and terraced gardens. According to past history, Sigiriya rock was believed to be the palace and fortress of Sri Lankan King, Ravana of the Ramayana legend about 50 centuries ago, long before King Kasyapa built the Sigiriya fortress. However, according to the Culawamsa, King Kasyapa was the son of King Dhatusena who killed his father to claim the throne which truly belonged to his half-brother Mugalan, who fled to India to escape from being assassinated by his half brother, but vowing revenge. It was due to this reason that  King Kasyapa built his fortress and palace with a pleasure garden on the summit of Sigiriya for his own security expecting Mugalan to return one day and fight for his throne. Eventually Mugalan returned after raising an army from India and defeated Kasyapa in 495 CE. During the battle, Kasyapa’s army abandoned him and King Kasyapa was compelled to commit suicide by falling on his own sword. Sigiriya today is declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.

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