Stairs of Sigiriya

Sigiriya 

©Kathleen Cohen

CSU WorldImages

The magnificent hike into Sigiriya is made simple by a row of stairs into the palace at the base of the structure, the stairs climb to Sigiriya’s zenith. The stairs of Sigiriya are in fact a newer addition making the structure far more accessible to visitors. Sigiriya (Lion’s rock, Sig-I-riya) is a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale(Ma-Tal-lay) District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings, which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. It is also declared by UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the World. Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees of 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. The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by the archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana in his renowned two-volume work, published by Cambridge, Sigiri Graffiti and also Story of Sigiriya.