Sigiriya ( lion rock) is an ancient rock fortress located in between the town of Dambulla and Habarana in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. This is considered to be the eighth wonder of world at a time. So this is definitely a must visit place in Sri Lanka. This is a rock fortress which is 200m in height and a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. Majority of people believe this to be built by King Kashyapa to protect himself from his half brother Mugalan( Mogallana). Others believe that although Sigiya was used by King Kashyapa, it was built in the era of King Ravana. They claim this to be the Alakamandawa((the City of the Gods)
Ancient gardens and pools in Sigiriya.( low level)
Sigiriya has water gardens, cave boulder gardens, terraced gardens and considered as one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Multiple water gardens are connected with the outer moat on the west and the large artificial lake to the south of the Sigiriya rock. You may also see some active fountains.
The Lion Gate and the mirror wall (Middle level of Sigiriya)
The mid-level terrace includes the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes. Mirror wall is a well polished area. As you would imagine the name has derived from a wall which could even be used as mirror. You may see verses scribbled by ancient visitors. Please beware that you are not supposed to write in this wall now and if you do so it will be considered as a serious offence. The ancient verses are on varying subjects such as love, irony, and experiences of all sorts. Some people believe that woman in the paintings are representing the ladies of King Kashyapa whole others believe that these are woman going for religious observances. Lion Gate is a remains of a sculpted lion. You will see 2 paws with only 3 fingers in each. Due to this reason, some people argue that its not a lion but a bird called “Gurula” ( A bird similar to an eagle and believed as the vehicle of a hindu god).
Top Level of Sigiriya.
If you are not that Interested in History or archeology the top view of the sigiriya is still a good reson for you to climb Sigiya. View from the top of the Sigiriya rock is magnificent. You will see a very large greenly area. You will see remains of the palace in the top of the Rock. So Sigiriya was both a fortress and a palace.
Access to Sigiriya.
Sigiriya is located 175 kilometers north-east of Colombo – the capital of Sri lanka. If you are backpacker who is starting your journey from Colombo, You may take a bus in route no 48( ex Colombo- Kaduruwela, Colombo- Baticaloa). You may either get down from Dambulla and take another to sigiriya or get down from Habarana and take a three wheeler ( tuk tuk).
Note: There is no direct train or bus service to sigiriya. However, Bus is the convenient option.
Entrance to Sigiriya and fees.
You may enter the site from 7.00 AM to 5.00 PM everyday .
Tip: Try to avoid main public holydays such as Vesak and Poson as these are days lot of locals visit.
Local adult will be charged Rs. 50 and a foreign adult will be charged $30. You may also get access to the Sigiriya museum with the same ticket.