The fortresses Sigiriya is an amazing rock. Geographically it belongs to the monadnocks. Culturally it belongs to the cultural triangle of Sri Lankan. Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, and Kandy are the other places which belong to it. Sigiriya lion rock does not situate in a corner of it, but the middle. Also most of the tourists like Sigiriya Sri Lanka.
Some say that this place belonged to Ravana. People believe that there was a palace inside the Sigiriya rock fortress. I mean whether we see the ruins in the outside of the rock, the actual one is in the inside.
King Ravana’s father was Vaishravana. He was a saint. They lived in Vessagiriya. That name has come in “Vaishravana giriya” (Vaishravana mountain). This is near Isurumuniya. It has said that this town and also the “Ranmasu uyana” are oldest towns.
They belong to the cast “Yakka”. The king of Kuvera, one of their cousins caught the Yakka’s throne. Therefore they needed a new king who could fight with Kuvera and re-establish their dominion. King Ravana was the biggest hope of Yakka.
He fought with Kuvera and regained Yakka’s throne as the others wished. After that, he built his palace in Sigiriya.
The architectures found some stargates in Sigiriya and Anuradhapura. They think that the cast Yakka had communicated with others and (or) with Aliens. Especially king Ravana. It is believed that he had great and incredible technology. He had a spacecraft named “Dandumonaraya” which was worked using Mercury as fuel. It was landed on there.
More amazing facts about the legendary past of Sigiriya…
These days we need to go around and climb up to see the ruins. They are in the top of Sigiriya rock. But most of the historians believe that there was an inside palace built by Ravana or Kashyapa, the latest who used here as his fortress.
Also, there are some photos which can believe that there was a larger and higher staircase than now that goes to the inside. It was situated near the lion paws. There was a lift in the inside too. It seems like everything had been closed by someone and made some unnecessary parts a few years ago.
Legends say that the paws of the lion also do not actually belong to a lion. They say they are legs of a bird named “Gurula”. You cannot see this kind of birds now. They lived in king Ravana’s time. King Ravana had one of these birds which he used for his transports. Therefore he carved the legs of his “Gurula” in the entrance of his fort to give honor to the bird.
They say that it was H.C.P. Bell who introduced him as architecture, but seemed to be a treasure hunter was the person who gives this a name. Some say that this was not Kashyapa`s one as well.
Most of the Sri Lankan people and also the standard history believe that it was the king Kashyapa who had built the fortress in Sigiriya rock. A king was lived in Anuradhapura. His was named Dhatusena. He had three queens and two elder sons. The eldest was Kashyapa and the second was Mugalan. According to their rules, the throne goes to the eldest son after king Dhatusena, which means to Kashyapa. But the problem was though Kashyapa was the eldest; he was not a son of the head queen (Randoli). He was one of the second queens’ (Yakada doli) sons. The head queen’s son was the younger, Mugalan. Therefore the throne went to him.
Kashyapa did not want this to happen. He got very angry with his father. He went to his father and asked for the values. The king took him to the “Kala Wewa” tank, bent down and took a handful of water. He showed the water to the son and told “Son, this is all I have”.
What happened next?
The son got angrier. He scolded his father and tied him to the tank wall. The son covered his father’s whole body with clay which he took from the tank mud. The king died sadly. But he didn’t tell a word.
Kashyapa’s brother got to know about the cruelty that his brother had done. He was searching for the brother to kill him and take the revenge of his father. Kashyapa was afraid of his brother and was trying to find a safe place to hide. That was how he found the Sigiriya rock. He went there and built a large palace. Not only that, he built some tanks, fountains and many more things for his comfortability.
He was hiding there, but after some years his brother got to know about the fortress. He took an army and came to fight with the cruel brother. Kashyapa also sent his army into the battle. They had a fight and seemed like Kashyapa’s army was losing. Therefore he also went to the battle too. After some days Kashyapa was unable to hold his army. They lost and he came back to the fortress. He couldn’t bear the loss and also he remembered the sin he did to his own father. It didn’t matter what the reason was, what he did was a sin that he could not get excuse forever. He jumped down from the rock and made suicide.
Before heading with Sigiriya rock climbs…
When you climb Sigiriya, you will find its lion paws in the Northside. Those were found in the year 1898 by the archaeologist, H.C.P.Bell. He had found not only this but many more ruins in Sri Lanka history such as “Samadhi statue”, “Kuttam pokuna”, some treasures, boundary marks, ancient road paths in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, some ancient places in Kegalle, etc… You have to go in a path built narrow and suddenly enter a stage to see these paws. It has been said that there was a very large carving of a lion before. It has worn away slowly. That carving was the reason to call the rock as Sigiriya (the lion’s rock). Some people say that this is not a lion, but a bird. But all of them who did researching after Bell have believed that this was a lion. Therefore the carving was fixed as a lion.
If you need to know why these paws belong to a lion, there is a reason too. The king was Buddhist and their prophet Lord Buddha was called “Shakyasinghe”. That means the lion of the Shakyas. Shakya was a clan. They tell it because they believe that the words spoken by Lord Buddha are very true and the power of them is similar to the roar of a lion. Therefore we can understand why the king needed to carve a lion in his fortress. He may be trying to tell the society about his Buddhism. Sometimes; he may be trying to be an example for his people. Or else he may be trying to control his people according to the Lord Buddha’s advice. There are ten of them. Those are called “Dasa raja dharma” (The ten rules for the king).
More about the Sigiriya rock fortress…
When you climb the staircase made by metal which was built between the paws, you will enter to the top finally. Though it is made by metal now, you can see some carves of the old rocky staircase. There you will find the king’s chair, ponds, and fountains. His chair is called the “Sinhasana”. It was made by rock, or only the rock part is remaining.
The main pond was built on the rock itself. It is about 90 feet long and 68 feet wide. Also there you can see three small ponds built by bricks. Nowadays there is no way to clean the water in the ponds and the fountain. In accordance with the historical sources, very good water transportation system has been there during the ancient time. If you are able to visit the site in the rainy season, you can still find some fountains are working. Not only the fountains on the rock but also the garden fountains are working too. Just imagine the technology they had…
It is said that Sigiriya had a very high standard technology. We can divide it into three parts.
- The gardens aping.
- The city planning.
- The architecture.
The inner town and the paths in there were built very carefully. The conduit around the rock and the walls were made to defend the fortress. They say that there were two conduits as the inner one and the outer one. Nowadays we only see the inner conduit as the outer one has filled with soil. Also, there had an inner wall and an outer wall, but we can only see the foundation of the outer one.
The palace is the best building in the top because it was built in the top part of the rock. The ruins are enough to draw a picture of its splendor. We can see that it was about 67feets long and 37 feet wide. Also, you can see some smaller palaces near it except for the main palace.
Sigiriya height is 200 meters. And there are about three hectares large area at the top. All the buildings had built in that area. There are the ruins of ponds, walls, rock arches, conduits, security rooms, etc…
In the Southern side on the rock, there is a summer palace. It was on a small island situated on the rock. It was built there because the top of there and the whole rock get too hot in the day time. The sunrise directly comes to the rock and therefore it is very hard to stay in the main palace at noon. But how can a king stop working and solving problems according to the sun? The summer palace was the solution.
Highlights of Sigiriya Frescoes
The main reason for Sigiriya to be famous in the whole world is the paintings in there. They are painted in the Western part of the rock. Actually, it is not only the West but also a part of the rock that bound inside naturally. Therefore that had got protection from direct sun and the heavy rain. Nowadays we can only see them in this small part of the rock, but we can believe that in those days the paintings were spread in the whole Western side.
Most of the paintings represent women. It has been said that these arts are related to the arts painted in the Caves of Ajanta and Ellora in India. Some people believe that these are the queens of the king. On the other hand; some say that they are servants. Some architectures and poets and especially Dr.Ananda Kumaraswamy said that these women are angels because the down part of their body is not painted. They have no legs, only the clouds are painted for legs. Therefore the paintings seem like angels who have come on to the Sigiriya rock to rain some flowers to bless the king.
The women are in two colors. Therefore people, especially Professor Senarath Paranavithana believes that they are “Megha latha” and “Vijju latha”. That means clouds and lightning. He said the blue colored women were “Megha latha” and golden were “Vijju latha”.
Mr.Bell said that the golden colored women were king’s wives and the blues were their servants. He said that they seemed like going to Pidurangala temple with flowers in their hands to worship Lord Buddha.
Few more interesting facts about Sigiriya Frescoes paintings…
Professor Nandadeva Wijesekera says that these are the widows of King Kashyapa. They are crying sadly with flowers in their hands to honor their king because he killed himself.
The historian Siri Gunasinghe refuses to believe every point of view about these paintings. According to him, this rock was just a fortress and a palace for the king. These immensely beautiful paintings have been made just for the king’s enjoyment. Therefore; he says that the women are just usual women were can see everywhere in the society and nothing is symbolized with them.
The day, 17th October 1967 was a dark day to the paintings. An anonymous person who wanted to destroy this ancient worth entered there secretly and besmeared black tar on the valuable paintings. Most of them were destroyed. But a kind Italian historian promised Sri Lankan people that he could repair the paintings again.
Many poems have written about these women in there. People in Sri Lanka have used to name them as “Kurutu gee” in the “Katapath pawra”. That means poems in the mirror wall. The poems can be taken as evidence of the ancient language, literature, and culture.
The museum is prepared specially for the visitors and tourists who are unable to climb the rock. Those people can visit this place and can get a slight experience of the ancient fortress. The path to the museum has made with bricks. It seems like a tunnel.
There you can find a few skeletons of humans. TIn addition; there are so many goods made of clay. Small pots, big pots, jewelry, etc… Also, there are some tools made of iron and copper. You can find some tiny things made of gold. And also some pearls and gems. There are some sculptures too. All of these things have found in the area belongs to Sigiriya. H.C.P. Bell, Professor Senarath Paranavithana and many more historians who were interested in this kingdom have found these ruins. The Central Cultural Fund has collected all the things and gathered them into one place. It is this museum.
Not only the ruins but also they have prepared a mirror wall in there too. There are some pictures of Sigiriya arts and anyone can write a poem about what they think of Sigiriya in there. The CCF says that this mirror wall was prepared because the visitors used to write their names and sometimes taboo words on the original wall. The aim was to stop them. If you need to write something, you can use this duplicate wall.
- It doesn’t matter what you wear for Sigiriya rock tour, but it is better to wear jeans for ladies because the skirts will blow up with wind and you may lose your balance.
- You would better wear a hat or a scarf and cover your head. This place gets the direct sunlight and you will get a headache easily.
- Wear shoes or slippers that do not slip. You have to climb some small stairs.
- Bring a water bottle. You will need water more than anything.
- Stay calm always. There are breathtaking wasp-hives and if they fess up, you will be sorry.
- Try to find a guide. Your experience will be more educated.
- You can get photos in everywhere and Sigiriya photos will give you a beautiful memory.
- You are not allowed to run, shout and fuss.
- Do not write anything on the mirror wall.
- You are not allowed to touch the paintings.
- Make sure not to disturb others and also the animals and insects.
- Do not get liquor and smoke.
The weather in Matale district is very hot. So in Sigiriya. You will feel more uncomfortable if you are from a cold country. Try to wear cotton cloths to get more air. Try to drink water every time. Visit the place before noon. Or go there in the evening. You will feel alright.
However, Sigiriya rock opening hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Sigiriya rock climb price is 30 US Dollars for the foreigners. If you are from a SAARC country it will be only 15. It will cost only 100 rupees for Sri Lankans.
How to go there?
This rock is in Matale District. It has about 165 km distance from Colombo. You can go there by bus getting Colombo to Matale bus. It is not very comfortable, but it is cheap. The next way is to use the train. It will take about five to six hours because you will find only one train there. You can hire a vehicle and reach there in about four hours. It is more comfortable. If you can pay, using plane will give you a very good and beautiful experience. It will cost about 300 dollars and will take only thirty minutes.
- Is the visit free?
Only the transport and the tickets cost.
- Will it be difficult to climb?
No. There are stairs you can use.
- Do I have to go with a guide?
No, there are guides near the tickets counter. You can hire one.
- Can we bring children?
Of course, you can. But please look after them because there are some dangerous places.
- Is it worth to visit here in our holidays in Sri Lanka?
Yes, it is worth.
We think this Sigiriya rock guide was very useful to you if you are about to visit the place and were waiting for information. Everybody who visits this ancient place must remember that they have a responsibility to protect it. Sigiriya Sri Lanka is worth to visit.