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Sigiriya - Sri Lanka's Rock Fortress and Heritage Site

Duration: Half Day

sigiriya - sri lanka's rock fortress and heritage site

Known as the “Tropical Teardrop of the Indian Ocean", Sri Lanka is renowned for its striking natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, which has attracted travellers to the island for centuries. Endless coastline, lush tropical forests and majestic wildlife reserves merge with ancient capitals, temples and shrines, creating an inspirational holiday to remember. This tour will introduce you to one of Sri Lanka’s most spectacular heritage sites – the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya.

Travelling from Colombo, we drive leisurely through Sri Lanka’s beautiful and strikingly diverse countryside before reaching the magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress (Lion Rock) in Sri Lanka’s central Matale District. Considered the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient world, this dramatic monument is one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.

Rising majestically 600ft (180m) above the surrounding plains, the ancient palace fortress was constructed in the 5th century AD atop an enormous boulder by King Kasyapa to fend off a feared invasion. At the height of its glory it was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. Following the King’s death, it became a monastic retreat until the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. The site is particularly famous for its well-preserved frescoes of beautiful Sigiriyan 'Heavenly Maidens', which can be viewed halfway up the rock in a sheltered alcove, approached by a spiral stairway.

Visitors can climb the steps to see the ancient ruins of the fortress, which is considered one of the most remarkable creations in the world. Amongst the complex of ancient buildings lie landscaped water gardens, bathing pools, moats and historic ruins, which include the King’s throne and enormous stone lion paws at the entrance. These were once part of a Lion’s head, which is where the rock derives its name Sigiriya (the Lion Rock). Visitors would originally start the ascent to the summit through the lion’s mouth before it was left to ruin.

Another interesting feature of the fortress is the “Mirror Wall”, a 1000-year-old polished graffiti wall which reveals inscriptions of visitors’ impressions of Sigiriya in ancient times. These markings were believed to have been inscribed in Sinhala between the 7th and 11th Century AD.

The steep climb to the summit may seem difficult to some, but your efforts will be rewarded with magnificent views of the jungle and lush green countryside from the top. This awe-inspiring fortress in the sky is a must-see during your holiday in Sri Lanka.

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