Sigiriya 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 (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure – Sihagiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. It is the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka.
Early morning at 6.30 am, leave for Sigiriya (approx. 4 hours drive) and climb the 5th-century Sigiriya rock fortress. Sigiriya is famous for its toadstool of golden-hued granite, protruding into the searing blue sky from a hot, flat wilderness of scrub-land, which is transformed in the rainy season to a water garden.
After lunch, visit Dambulla rock temple that was built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. and it is a World Heritage Site. It is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and ceilings, is the largest area of paintings found in the world. It contains over 150 images of the Buddha and the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 meters.
On completion of this visit, you will be driven back to your hotel.
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