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Sigiriya - 8th Wonder of the World

Also known as Sinhagiri or Lion Rock, this massive fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It served as King Kashyapa’s capital between 477 – 495 CE. Historically and archaeologically significant site, Sigiriya attracts throngs of history buffs who reach here after a drive of 3 hours from Colombo to Negombo. 
The rock plateau of Sigiriya emerged from the magma of an extinct volcano. It is 200 metre high and rises above the surrounding jungles. Inside the fortress, one will find remains of an old palace bordered by similar fortifications, huge gardens, ponds, alleys, canals and fountains. As per the historical records, Sigiriya, during the 3rd century BC used to be a monastery. It was during 5th century, King Kashyapa turned it his royal residence. The huge fortress complex is one of the finest pieces of Sri Lankan architecture. Years have passed; still Sigiriya continues to be an unmatched example of water engineering, urban planning and horticulture.

Attractions

The Massive Rock Fortress
 8th Wonder of the World, the Sigiriya fortress holds significant archaeological importance.  It houses the remnants of a ruined palace and is encircled by an extensive network of fortifications. Outside, the fortress, one will find vast gardens, ponds, canals, alleys and fountains.

What’s Inside Sigiriya

Lion’s Paws
Harry Charles Purvis Bell, the British archaeologist found them while excavating here in 1898. A narrow pathway takes one to a large platform facing the Lion Rock with two huge Lion Paws. An architectural marvel, these paws contribute to the beauty of the Sigiriya Palace Complex.

Frescoes
A long sheltered gallery towards the sheer rock face can be reached by climbing the open-air spiral stairway. Here, one will find paintings and murals depicting wasp-waisted apsara (dancers of heaven). Protected by the sun rays, these frescoes have maintained themselves in a remarkably good condition with colours still bright.

Pidurangula
About 1 km from Sigiriya site, this prominent rock, offers amazing views of Sigiriya and the area below. One has to hike for 20 minute to reach the top; and witness the most beautiful sunset. Photography enthusiasts will be blessed with some magnificent views.  

Royal Gardens
A big relief from the bustling city, this lush and beautiful garden once had many Buddhist shrines. Today its charms every visitor with boulder gardens, that is very close to the rock itself.  These boulders used to be the base of the monastic buildings.

Water Gardens
These fascinating water gardens can be reached from the main entrance towards the rock. Here, one will find curved tanks, bathing pools, little islands with pavilions and landscape borders.

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