Amongst the most famed attractions in Sri Lanka, the iconic Sigiriya is not only an amazing sight to behold but also to discover a rich heritage encompassing art and more.

A Bit of Context

Built under the rule of King Kashyapa, Sigiriya is a magnificent rock fortress with a palace that dates to the 5th century AD. Located in the Cultural Triangle, within easy reach of properties like Heritance Kandalama, this UNESCO World Heritage Site rises to a height of 660 feet; the ingenious ways in which it was built at a time without modern machinery is truly remarkable.

The Sigiriya Frescoes

sigiriya frescoes
shankar s. from Dubai, united arab emirates, Apsara paintings, Sigiriya (7567494952)CC BY 2.0

Those visiting this site from a nearby hotel in Dambulla can make the ascent where they will come across the Sigiriya Frescoes on the western surface. These are intricate frescoes of maidens painted onto the rock surface itself and showcase an amazing artistic heritage; interestingly, there is debate on who these women are with celestial nymphs and the king’s concubines amongst the theories put forward.

The Mirror Wall

Near the frescoes is the Mirror Wall which sheds more light on the culture as well as poetry at the time. The wall’s highly polished surface led visitors of ancient Sri Lanka to make inscriptions about Sigiriya showcasing diverse prose and poetry; it offers an invaluable glimpse into the local language and what life was like during this period too.

The Lion Staircase

Before you reach the summit of Sigiriya, you will come to the Lion Staircase featuring two massive lion paws chiselled from the rock. It’s believed that originally, an entire massive figure of a lion lay here serving as the entrance to the palace on the top; while only the paws remain, it does offer insights into the grandeur and architectural wonder of the fortress.