Sigiriya (Lion Rock)
Sigiriya (Lion Rock) is an ancient palace located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province. Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres high. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka. Environment around the Sigiriya may have been inhabited since prehistoric times. There is dear evidence that the many rock shelters and caves in the vicinity were occupied by Buddhist monks and ascetics from as early as the 3rd century- BCE. Sigiriya is considered to be one of the most important urban planning sites of the first millennium. and the site plan is considered very elaborate and imaginative. On the west side of the rock lays a park for the royals. laid out on a symmetrical plan; the park contains water-retaining structures, including sophisticated surface, subsurface hydraulic systems, some of which are working today. Five gates were placed at entrances.
The Sigiriya Frescoes were painted on the western surface of Sigiriya Rock which is located in the Matale District of central Sri Lanka. They were the highlight of a massive palace complex built by King Kasyapa in 480AD. The paintings would have covered of the western face of the rock, an area 140 metres long and 40 metres high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. The lines are painted in a form which enhances the sense of volume of the figures. The paint has been applied in sweeping strokes, using more pressure on one side, giving the effect of a deeper colour tone towards the edge.
The terraced gardens are formed from the natural hill at the base of the Sigiriya Rock. A series of terrace rises from the pathways of the boulder garden to the staircases on the rock. These have been created by the construction of brick walls, and are located in a roughly concentric plan around the rock.
Originally this wall was so highly polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it. Made of brick masonry wall and covered in highly polished white plaster, the wall is now partially covered with verses scribbled by visitors to the rock. The mirror wall has verses dating from as early as the 8th century.
The water gardens can be seen in the central section of the western precinct. Three principal gardens are found here. The first garden consists of a plot surrounded by water. It is connected to the main precinct using four causeways, with gateways placed at the head of each causeway.