Sigiriya, central province Sri lanka

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.

 

City views, from Polonnaruwa to Sigiriya.

City views, from Polonnaruwa to Sigiriya.

Sigiriya is not a big town. The population of Sigiriya is 1001, the average elevation is 207 meters.

Going into the village of Sigiriya; Distant view of wild elephants, Distant view of Sigiriya Rock from inside the car, Image of the researcher Professor Senarathparana Vithana (1896-1972) and Ticket office.

Going into the village of Sigiriya; Distant view of wild elephants, Distant view of Sigiriya Rock from inside the car, Image of the researcher Professor Senarathparana Vithana (1896-1972) and Ticket office.

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.

P1120496-5Environment 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 entrance of the ruins. Passing in front of the banyan tree, the water gerden come into view.

The entrance of the ruins. Passing in front of the huge banyan tree, the water gerden come into view.

The water garden just inside the inner wall of the western precinct, consists of water pavilions, pools, cisterns, courtyards, conduits and water courses.

Water Garden Area; Views of the moat, pool, ruins of the gate-house and watercourse in the water garden complex.

Water Garden Area; Views of the moat, pool, ruins of the gate-house and watercourse in the water garden complex.

The Water Gerdens called "Waterway of Lotus"

The Water Gerdens called “Waterway of Lotus”

Going past the water garden, just basic parts made from brick and stone expand there.

Going past the water garden, just basic parts made from brick and stone expand there.

The Sigiriya Rock

The Sigiriya Rock from the water garden.

The main path from the Water Gardens leads to the next level of the Sigiriya Complex, the Boulder Gardens.

Locals were enjoying a picnic on the Saturday afternoon, Strangely, they were all women and children. There was no even one man.

Locals were enjoying a picnic in the Boulder Garden on the Saturday afternoon, Strangely, they were all women and children. There was no even one man.

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.

Rocky area for the sermon

Preaching Rock of the Boulder Gardens

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.

Monk’s cell of the Boulder Gardens

Monk’s cell of the Boulder Gardens

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.

Bodhigara in the Boulder Gardens Sigiriya

Bodhigara in the Boulder Gardens Sigiriya

This circular structyer is called Bodhigara, where monks would purify themselves before offering devotionals.

Deraniyagala cave, monastic shelter, and its faint traces of painting in the Boulder Gardens.

Deraniyagala cave, monastic shelter, and its faint traces of painting in the Boulder Gardens.

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 in the Boulder Gardens Sigiriya

Asana Cave and its wall paintings in the Boulder Gardens Sigiriya

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.

Cobra Hood Cave in the Boulder Gardens Sigiriya

Cobra Hood Cave in the Boulder Gardens Sigiriya

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 Gardens of Sigiriya

The Terrace Gardens of Sigiriya

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.

From the Boulder Gardens to the Terrace Gardens of Sigiriya

From the Boulder Gardens to the Terrace Gardens of Sigiriya

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.

Flora of Sigiriya

Flora of Sigiriya

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