Sigiriya Lion Rock

This place has been considered as the most visited site and the top 1 tourist destination in Sri Lanka. Built by an obsessed monarch in the 5th century, Sigiriya (Singhagiri)or Lion Rock is an astonishing feat of engineering and construction. This is a 200 meters above a forested plain fortress a series of moats, ramparts , water gardens & flower gardens, remains of an ancient palace on summit including royal pool, foundation of the royal palace built by the King Kashyapa. King Kashyapa who ruled between 477 & 495 AD, was a troubled but visionary King. He had come to power by murdering his father, the great king, King Dathusena, by plastering him up in a wall. Rejected by his people for this cruel crime and tormented by guilt and fear, Prince Kashyapa abandoned the magnificent capital of Anuradhapura and fled deep in the forests. Them he found a menacing black column of rock 600 feet high and he built himself a new capital resplendent with lush gardens, palaces and pavilions. He transformed this massive black rock in to a rock fortress, with beautiful frescoes of semi naked nymphs. He also built a massive gatehouse in the form of a lion to guard the entrance to the inmost sanctum of his wonderful city. The most renowned is the Sigiriya Rock Paintings or Frescoes of Sigiri Damsels locally called as ' Sigiri Apsaras' painted on a Western Rock face cavity about 100 meters high from the rock base .There now remains around 21 paintings of Sigiriya Damsels but there had been around five hundred paintings during King Kashyapa's time along several other places of the same Western Rock face. Another interesting construction in Sigiriya is the Mirror Wall (Kadapath Pawura), which is covered with graffiti from the 7th to the 10th centuries AD. These were written by the people who came to see Sigiriya during those long years. There are a pair of giant stone lion's paws still guarding the staircase that leads to the summit, once occupied by a royal palace. Today this place is considered as the "Eight Wonder of the Ancient World" also a UNESCO Heritage site.