Sigiriya Fortress lies in the middle of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle made up by cities, Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. According to legends, the fortress on top of Sigiriya was built by King Kashyapa who chose the space to be his royal residence as he was worried of potential attacks from his brother Mugalan, the rightful heir to the throne.
Sri Lanka’s most talked about paintings are the Sigiriya maidens, found up the Lion Rock. When they were originally painted in the 5th century, around 500 beautiful ladies decorated the wall, in a massive mural which spanned 450 feet in length and 130 feet in height. Only twenty-one paintings of the maidens have survived into the present day. The women are painted from the waist up, torsos emerging god-like from clouds. Some of them sport three arms or three breasts. Some believe that these maidens were the ladies of King Kashyapa, while others think the Sigiriya Maidens represent goddesses. Whoever they are, they’re among the most amazing works of ancient art you have ever seen, and seeing them alone is worth the trip to Sigiriya.
Another one of the most striking features of Sigiriya is its Mirror Wall. In the old days it was polished so thoroughly that the king could see his reflection in it. The Mirror wall is painted with inscriptions and poems written by the visitors of Sigiriya.
As you walk from the Sigiriya main entrance to the rock you will be passing some fascinating, finely balanced water gardens, including curved tanks and bathing pools. The gardens are among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.
The climb to the top of the Lion Rock is interesting and fun, along a windy, rocky path. The summit offers absolutely spectacular views of the plains and valleys below. It is one of the most popular Dambulla attractions with hundreds of people visiting every year.