A massive rock fortress built in the 5th century A.D. is an enduring tribute to one man’s vision. It reminds us of ancient royal hide – Way, a citadel steeped in history, replete with legend, betrayal and love.
Sigiriya is located in the district of Matale in Inamaluwa Korale. It is ten miles from Dambulla. On the route to Trincomalee from the Inamaluwa junction and proceed about 5 1/2 miles on the road to the east and then the foot of the Sigiriya Rock could be reached.
In 456 A.D. Datusena became the king of Anuradhapura. He had 2 sons and a daughter. The daughter was married to Senpathi of king. Incensed by the treatment the daughter had received from the mother of the senpathi, Datusena is said to have got her burned to death. This incident turned the senpathi against the king. He joined kasyapa and raised a rebellion which was successful. Datuseana was captured and later put to death in a most revolting manner. Kasyapa though king was not at ease. Mugalan his brother has a legitimate claim to the throne. Mugalan who fled to India might come bake with an Indian army. Haunted by these fears Kasyapa abandoned Anuradhapura, built for himself a formidable fortress on the rock of Sigiriya.
Mugalan who was in hiding, returned from India, Challenged him with an army. In the battle, fortune went against kasyapa and he committed suicide. Kasyapa was the only king who ruled from sigiriya.
He transformed a rock into an almost impregnable fortress, and what is more be used his aesthetic sense to decorate some of the rock pockets, with what can easily be called the best paintings worthy of note found in Ceylon. These were pleasure gardens, ponds fountain laid out attractively. Some underground and surface drainage systems have been discovered during excavations. Sigiriya covers a very extensive area, and there are many places to be visited. Only the main places are dealt here. Sigiriya though it has won the admiration of the whole world, is not a place of religious worship.


Was erected by splitting a rock in two and placing one spilt half upwards. On it was Constructed the Magul Maduwa. There still remains a seat in the Magul Maduwa. The other split half was set a side and on it was constructed a small pond. Between the 2 split halves is a narrow path. On either side are small caves decorated with beautiful paintings.

Route to Sigiriya and the mirror wall.

Some section of the route which were used during the ancient period to climb the rock cannot be used today, as certain sections of the roadway are ruined. These sections have been renovated installing iron railings and small bridges and as such the climb is not a difficult one. All the small mountain peaks on the steep rock and space have been used and according to a magnificent ground plan the constructional work has been completed. On the western and northern sides of the steep rock face, runs a gallery or pathway which provides access to seemingly inaccessible summit, shielding this pathway is a plaster wall, so highly polished that even today after fifteen centuries of exposure the name "Mirror Wall" On the polished surface are the Sigiri Graffiti, recorded by processions of visitors to the rock in this path, after the death of king Kasyapa.

Sigiri paintings

Above the mirror wall is well sheltered pocket or cave. This could be approached by a spiral stairway and the famous frescoes can be seen. Not more than eight could enter the cave at once as the pocket or cave is small. Epigraphical evidence and also one of the sigiri stanzas refer to the existence of 500 such portraits, but only 21 remains today.
People visiting Sigiriya could understand that the architecture painting and layout of the city, underground and surface drainage systems have reached a high standard during such an early period as the 6th century A.D. The wall abutting the moat encircling the fortress is one of the most arresting features. It is clear that these frescoes represent the heighest achievement in painting in ancient Ceylon.

Main Courtyard

After passing the “Mirror wall” on climbing the left side is stone traps made during that period. These traps are built on a number of small stones and on these are placed a large stone. The traps are made to ward off any invasion by the enemies. The stone can be hurled down to destroy the enemies. At the end of the "mirror wall" is a large courtyard. Above the courtyard are a number of hornets nests. To ward off any danger coming from the hornets, when they get stirred, there are small caves covered with nets to protect the people but it is not sufficient for a large number of people. The courtyard is 108 feet length and 216ft, in breadth. The entrance to the place is constructed in the main courtyard. The entrance was decorated with a figure of a lion and the pathway is between the front paws. There still remain the front paws and some section of the stairway.
The Sigiri rock itself is similar to a lion sprawling on the ground. The name Sinhagir or Sigiri is derived from it. From the lions paw on wards, it is a difficult climb, although railings are installed.

The King’s Palace

The summit of the rock is nearly three acres in extent. This was used entirely for the buildings of the palace. There are remains of the foundation of the palace and the section of the buildings. There is also a pond filled with water, and close to the pond is a seat. There is no doubt that the pond is for bathing purposes and adjoining it is the changing room.
Sigiriya soon to be named the eight wonder of the world by UNESCO, its grandeur is a subject of fascination and wonder for both locals and foreigners alike. Climbing Sigiriya one can enjoy an enthralling experience.