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Sigiriya Rock Fortress

The Sigiriya Rock Fortress of Sri Lanka holds the ruins of a former Sinhalese capital of the 5th century, including a rock fortress and palace. This enormous complex was constructed by Prince Kasyapa. Being in fear of an invasion, he tried to make it as impenetrable as possible

The Vast flat-topped 200m high Lion Rock stands starkly above the surrounding countryside of the central forest with magnificent views over the Dry Zone and south to the Central Highlands It was an exceptional natural site for a fortress, which was gets its name from the lions believed to occupy the caves. For many visitors, this impressive site is their favorite in the whole of Sri Lanka. There are stunning views from the top.

Prince Kassapa killed his father the ruling king Datusene and became the king of Sri Lanka. Brother of Kassapa the Prince Mugalan, fearing for his life, escaped to India. Fearing that Mugalan will come with an army from India to avenge him at a later day, King Kassapa decided to make Sigiriya as his kingdom. During his rule of eighteen years from 477 AD to 495 AD Sigiriya Kingdom was created on the massive column of rock nearly 200 meters (660 ft) high. It is believed that he sought the refuge of Sigiriya rock for his safety fearing for his life.

He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colorful frescoes. Moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya. Built his palace on the summit of Sigiriya as a fortress and pleasure palace, Later Moggallana killed Kassapa and became the king and returned the capital to Anuradapura, converting Sigiriya into a monastery complex Sigiriya being a fortress had been well designed for its defenses by having ramparts and moats built around it. King Kassapa had reverted his fortress to an ecological wonder by having Royal Pleasure Gardens, Water Gardens , Fountain Gardens and Boulder Gardens made inside the inner city as well as at the palace premises on the Rock summit.

The most renowned is the Sigiriya Rock Paintings or Frescoes of Sigiri Damsels locally called as ' Sigiri Apsaras' painted on a Western Rock face cavity about 100 meters high from the rock base.There now remains around 21 paintings of Sigiriya Damsels but there had been around five hundred paintings during King Kassapa's' time along several other places of the same Western Rock face.