SIGIRIYA – WORLD HERITAGE CITY IN SRI LANKA
One of Asia’s major archaeological site, the world heritage city and place at Sigiriya are a unique
combination of 5th century planning, architecture, engineering, hydraulics, garden design, planing
sculpture and poetry. It has attracted the attention of modern antiquarians and archaeologists since the
early 19th century and from the 1890 has been the subject of intense archaeological activity.
Surrounded by forests and set in a cultural landscape of remarkable natural beauty and historic interest,
the ancient city, palace and garden complex is centered on the Sigiriya rock, an inselberg rising about
180 meters above the surrounding plain. The site itself goes back to pre and proton historic times. The
area around the main Sigiriya rock was the location of a Buddhist rock shelter monastery from the last
few centuries BC. The present city, palace and garden remains date from the time of their creator, King
CLIMB TO THE SIGIRIYA ROCK
It was with king Kashyapa that the great rock 'difficult of ascent to humans' as the chronicles describe it
was made accessible by elaborate sets of stairways and galleries from the west, the north and along the
steep, precipitous sides of the rock.
The two staircases, now much restored, which traverse the Terrace Garden, meet on a landing or lobby,
placed almost at the middle of the western face of the rock. This landing was ones covered by a roof,
evidence of witch can still be seen in the beam holes cut in to the rock. From this lobby, a covered
ambulatory or gallery the Mirror wall and the marble paved pathway it encloses provided access across
the belly of the rock to the 'Lion Staircase Terrace”.
AFTER KING KASHYAPA
This brief king Kashyapa episode was in face the golden age of Sigiriya.In the post King Kashyapa
period, Sigiriya reverted to being a monastic center. Monasteries were located within the Inner Citadel
area, and in the neighboring sites of Pidurangala and Ramakale. The innermost royal precincts,
consisting of the palace itself and the access to the summit, seem to have been little used or, more
likely, abandoned. The city and its suburbs, however, continued to be occupied, and visitors to the city
climbed the rock to view the paintings, the Lion Staircase and the palace.
This epoch last till about the 13th or 14th century, after witch Sigiriya disappears for a time from history
of Sri Lanka. It appears again, first in the reign of Rajasingha 1 of Sitavaka and then as a distance
outpost and military center of the Kingdom of Kandy, in the 17th and 18th centuries.