Sigiriya rock fortress, which was called as Sinhagiriya (Lion’s Rock) in the past was built by Sinhalese ancient king Kashyapa (477-495 AD). This magnificent rock fortress is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO and considered as an ecological wonder.
King Kashyapa killed his own father King Dathusena to be the ruler of the kingdom, King Kashyapa’s brother the rightful heir of the throne, Prince Mugalan escaped to India fearing Kashyapa.
In Buddhism killing own father is a cardinal crime, Kashyapa couldn’t forgive himself for it. Even though he tried to find relief in doing good deeds and religious work he was rejected by Buddhist monks and people. This ultimately led Kashyapa to abandon the magnificent Anuradhapura Kingdom and to move to an isolated place away from all.
King Kashyapa had an artistic eye; he wanted to build his new kingdom as the heaven’s city Alakamandawa. According to the Buddhist mythology Alakamandawa is the city of God Kuvera.
In his effort to build a city as Alkamandawa, kind Kashyapa built the breathtaking water gardens, terrace gardens and boulder gardens and Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Ancient architects of Sri Lanka have done a wonderful job in doing this kingdom. The Staircase (from ground to Sigiriya mountain top) built by stone is remaining even today. And the Infamous Sigiri Apsaras show the talent of Sri Lankan artists.
Sigiriya has one of the most wonderful architectural designs in ancient times.
Sigiri Apsaras (Sigiriya frescoes)
King Kashyapa built Sigiriya inspired by Alakamdawa. In Buddhist mythology Alakamandawa is the city of gods, which floats among clouds. To view the Sigiriya rock as a cloud, King Kashyapa painted the rock in white paint. And to adorn the white walls of Sigiriya rock he choose Sigiri Apsaras, the paintings of beautiful women. It is believed there were 500 Sigiri Aparas on the Rock. Only 19 is surviewed today due to the environmental issues and human intervention others are destroyed.
Sigiriya Mirror wall
Mirror wall was a gleaming white parapet wall built into the side of the Sigiriya Rock. Now it’s colored orange, broken at some parts and discolored and damaged. But believed it is used to be highly polished glittering white wall. In most of the Mirror wall is a 2 feet in height and is built for the protection of the climbers. Only 100 meters of the mirror wall exists today. But still we can see the remains of the past mirror wall stood there. Now Mirror wall is covered by the poems ancient people scattered after seeing the beautiful Sigiri Apsaras.
Gardens of Sigiriya are truly wonder, one of oldest landscaped gardens in the whole world.
They have architected in a special way to combine the man made constructions and nature. There are 3 water gardens full of various ponds and fountains. Boulder gardens consist boulders and statues of Sigiri apsaras. A series of terraces rises from the pathways of the boulder gardens to the staircases on the rock. These terrace gardens are compared to the hanging gardens of Babylon.