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The Sigiriya rock rises majestically from the jungle floor. It is famous for its ‘mirror wall’, so called because of its highly polished surface. Half-way up there are galleries with frescoes in brilliant tempera. Sigirya dates from the 5th century AD.
Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings, which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha.
According to the chronicles as Mahavamsa the entire complex was built by King Kashyapa (AD 477 – 495), and after the king's death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.
Please be aware that there are a lot of steps, and some of these can be steep and uneven. The stairs to the fresco gallery and the last part of the climb to the top are metal staircases attached to the side of the rock and so may not be suitable for anyone with a fear of heights (it is possible not to go to the gallery, and stop before the metal staircase to the top).
We recommend loose, comfortable clothing and shoes, and ensure you have water with you. If you choose not to climb to the top the rock, the gardens at the bottom are still very interesting. You can also speak to your driver about going to the museum, however there will be an extra charge for this.
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