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Sigiriya Rock Fortress Excursion, Sri Lanka

Region: ancient-cities | Location: Sigiriya
Sri Lanka Sigiriya Rock Fortress
 Other regions: capital-colombo | east-coast | hill-country | south-coast | west-coast
Sigiriya is one of the Sri Lanka’s most awe-inspiring archaeological sites and a leading tourist attraction. Sigiriya is a fascinating rock fortress which was the stronghold of a fifth century king who sought refuge.

The Sigiriya Rock Fortress was built during the reign of King Kassapa (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. The Sigiriya consists of a sheer rock that rises 200m with the ruins of a palace on the top and vast pleasure garden complex at the foot. Approach the rock through the beautiful water gardens before making the ascent to the three acre summit. Before reaching the Sigiriya royal palace at the summit the visitor passes a gallery of heavenly maidens painted upon the rock face and a wall of graffiti where visitors of 1000 years ago felt compelled to inscribe their impressions of the maidens in the gallery. The visitor then passes through two enormous lion paws, the remains of a gigantic brick lion before making the final approach to the summit where magnificent views of the surrounding jungle await.

History

For just two decades in the 5th century AD, Sigiriya rose to prominence following a power struggle between two brothers, Kasyapa and Mogallana. Kasyapa murdered his father by walling him alive and then usurping the throne which rightfully belonged to his brother Mogallana. Fearful that his defeated brother would return from exile to extract vengeance, Kasyapa shifted the capital to Sigiriya to build Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

The megalomaniac yet spiritual Kasyapa clearly had an eye for beauty. The pleasure gardens include a series of symmetric pools, cannels and fountains that still spurt water after 1,500 years. Partway up the rock are the famous Sigiriya frescoes, featuring 21 bare-breasted damsels that may represent celestial nymphs, but were surely modelled on Kasyapa’s own consorts. Halfway you’ll encounter a pair of giant lion’s paws, part of the original entrance, which required visitors to pass through the open mouth of a lion. The summit yields a dramatic vista of the surrounding jungle and contains the foundation of the palace complex, replete with bathing pool. But all this was to be in vain.

Mogallana finally arrived and declared war. Kasyapa descended from his palace in the clouds to face his brother astride an elephant, eventually talking his own life when facing certain defeat. Mogallana returned the capital to Anuradhapura, converting Sigiriya into a monastery complex.

Location

Sigiriya is located in Matale District in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is within the cultural triangle, which includes five of the seven world heritage sites in Sri Lanka. Located north of Dambulla, 168km from Colombo.

Tours to the Sigiriya Region, Sri Lanka

 
Sri Lanka Mini Cultural Heritage Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Mini Cultural Heritage Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1099 
Discover the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka inclding Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Tour, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage with time on the beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Mini Cultural Triangle and Wildlife Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Mini Cultural Triangle and Wildlife Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1069 
Discover the world renowned Cultural Triangle and the wild life of Sri Lanka in this tour while staying at some of the finest hotels. Tour includes Anuradhapura Ancient City Tour, Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Caves, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Peradeniya Botantical Gardens, Minneriya National Park, Negombo Village Tour, and Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage plus time on the beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Luxury Heritage Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Luxury Heritage Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £2709 
Discover the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka with luxury inclding Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Tour, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage with time on a luxurous beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Royal Kingdom Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Royal Kingdom Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1199 
Discover the cultural past that dates back to the 5th century BC and the proud history of Sri Lanka. This unique holiday will take you to the most prominent historical ancient royal kingdoms in Sri Lanka give time to experience Sri Lanka's charming people, culture and diverse landscape. You will be staying at some of the finest hotels that give the sprit of this holiday but still retaining the modern comforts.

Sri Lanka Heritage Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Heritage Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1089 
Discover the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka inclding Polonnaruwa Ancient City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Tour, The Royal City of Kandy Tour, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage with time on the beach to relax at the end of your trip.

Sri Lanka Elephant Insight Mini Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Elephant Insight Mini Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £1089 
Giving you a detailed insight into the lives of Sri Lanka’s pachyderm population and swinging by some of the best stretches of coast Sri Lanka has to offer, the Elephant Insight Mini Tour and Beach package is designed with the best locations for a good viewing and interaction with elephants and a serene stay along the sunny golden sands of Sri Lanka’s tropical shores.

Sri Lanka Elephant Insight Mega Tour HolidaySri Lanka Elephant Insight Mega Tour Holidayfrom £1169 
Elephant Insight Mega Tour

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Discovery Tour and Beach HolidaySri Lanka Sri Lanka Discovery Tour and Beach Holidayfrom £989 
Budget Tour in Sri Lanka


  • Relevant Cities
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  • Relevant Hotels
  • Sri Lanka Sigiriya Maps

Excursions of the ancient-cities Region, Sri Lanka

 
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura Ancient City TourAnuradhapura Ancient City TourAnuradhapuraancient cities
 Anuradhapura ancient city in Sri Lanka is a magical place. Anuradhapura features some of the most ancient archaeological treasures in Sri Lanka dating back to the 4th century BC. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites that must be missed.
 

Sri Lanka Polonnaruwa Ancient City TourPolonnaruwa Ancient City TourPolonnaruwaancient cities
 Polonnaruwa ancient city remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
 

Sri Lanka Sigiriya Rock FortressSigiriya Rock FortressSigiriyaancient cities
 Sigiriya Rock Fortress is another fascinating World Heritage site dating back to the 5th century which was once a stronghold for a king who sought refuge. It remains on a 200 meter high rock with magnificent views of the surrounding jungle.
 

Sri Lanka Jungle TrekkingJungle Trekking ancient cities
  
 

Sri Lanka Hot Air Ballooning Sri LankaHot Air Ballooning Sri LankaDambullaancient cities
 Discover the ancient kingdoms and national parks in style. Hot air ballooning is now available in Sri Lanka.
 

Sri Lanka Dambulla Cave TourDambulla Cave TourDambullaancient cities
 Dambulla Cave Temple is the best preserved cave temple complex in the country with beautiful statues and paintings.
 

Sri Lanka Mihintale TourMihintale TourMihintaleancient cities
 Mihintale is a sacred mountain peak considered to be the location where Buddhism was first introduced to the island of Sri Lanka. The mountain peak is approached by a grand stairway of 1840 granite steps.
 

Sri Lanka Avukana Buddha statueAvukana Buddha statueKala Wewaancient cities
 The magnificent free-standing Avukana Buddha statue carved out of a single granite rock face during the 5th century is the tallest Buddha statue in existence today.
 

Sri Lanka Minneriya National Park SafariMinneriya National Park SafariPolonnaruwaancient cities
 Dominated by the ancient Minneriya Tank, Minneriya National Park has plenty of scrub and light forest in its 8890 hectares to provide shelter for its toque macaques, sambar deer, leopards and elephants – to name a few.
 

Sri Lanka Elephant Back SafariElephant Back SafariSigiriyaancient cities
 In the afternoon take an optional Elephant Back Safari through the forests and villages of Habarana/Sigiriya.
 

Sri Lanka Rathnapura Gem miningRathnapura Gem miningRatnapuraancient cities
 Sri Lanka is one of the top five gem-bearing nations in the world. The long-established gem mining area in Sri Lanka is Rathnapura, also known as the City of Gems. In between rich greenery and paddy fields, you will see locals gem mining.