It is 55 km to Sigiriya from Polonnaruwa, takes approximately an hour to drive. Sigiriya is famous for its palace ruins on top of a massive 200 meter high rock surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs and other structures. The rock itself is a lava plug left over from an ancient long extinct volcano.
Sigiriya is not a big town. The population of Sigiriya is 1001, the average elevation is 207 meters.
The admission; The Sri Lankan nation is 50 Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) and a foreigner is 3,900 LKR. (Warning: Price of drinks at a cafe is different Sri Lanka citizens and foreigners.)
Sigiriya (Lion Rock) is an ancient palace located near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province. It refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive rock nearly 200 metres high.
Environment around the Sigiriya may have been inhabited since prehistoric times, the many rock shelters and caves in the vicinity were occupied by Buddhist monks and ascetics from as early as the 3rd century BCE.
The water garden just inside the inner wall of the western precinct, consists of water pavilions, pools, cisterns, courtyards, conduits and water courses.
The main path from the Water Gardens leads to the next level of the Sigiriya Complex, the Boulder Gardens.
The Boulder Gardens also constitute a much older phase of the Sigiriya Complex; much of the artifacts and artistry here predates King Kasyapa by centuries and is the work of the monks who first built a monastery at the base of the Sigiriya Rock.
Preaching Rock lies the boundary between the Water Gardens and the Boulder Gardens. The rock, which abuts the Octagonal Tank in Water Garden, contains tiered platforms, believed to have been used by addressing monks.
This cell is an old monastic cave that was part of the early Buddhist monastery. It was created by walling up the open face of an rock overhang.
This circular structyer is called Bodhigara, where monks would purify themselves before offering devotionals.
The Deraniyagala Cave came to be known by this name because the paintings in the cave were first recorded by Mr. P. E. P. Deraniyagala. This had been a monks’ dwelling belonging to the first monastic phase before Kasyapa. Faint traces of several female figures could be seen here and they are much like those in the main cave of Sigiriya rock, except that they are full-figure representations.
Asana Cave is with a drip-ledge (rainwater does not enter the room) and it takes the name from the seat (asana) inside, carved out of the living rock. This has been made for the use of meditating monks when Sigiriya was a monastery before Kayapa.
The Cobra Hood Cave gets its name from the boulder above it that resembles a fully opened cobra’s hood. The cave was used by Buddhist monks as early as the 3rd century BC. Paintings in the cave though date back to the reign of Kassapa.
The Terrace Garden at the base of the rock is fashioned out of the natural hill , made with rubbled retaining walls, each terrace running in a concentric circle around the rock, each rising above the other.
The path through the terraced gardens is formed by a limestone staircase. From this staircase, there is a covered path on the side of the rock, leading to the uppermost terrace where the lion staircase is situated.