UNESCO World Heritage - SIGIRIYA
One should not miss the breath-taking experience of Sigiriya, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. The rock of Sigiriya is located 22 kms North-East of Dambulla in the North Central Province. From the third century BCE, Buddhist monks occupied Sigiriya, but it said that it was only after King Kasyapa seizing the throne in 487 AD the palace and gardens were built and the rock fortified. (Debated)
Once you enter this Asia’s oldest landscape garden, you will see the well-kept balanced Water Gardens consisting of the remains of four L-shaped pools either side of the main walkway, which were once used for bathing, each one connected by underground channels. Surrounding them are four fountains, still active during the rainy season, which are fed by gravity from the moats and reveal the early sophistication of the design here. Other features you will pass on the way up are Octagonal Pond, Boulder Garden, Audience Hall, Cistern, the beautifully painted Sigiriya frescoes. There are 22 frescoes today out of the original 500 frescoes which have been protected in a depression in the rock from the wind and rain. The paintings are believed to be of Apsaras, heaven-dwelling nymphs.

The Mirror Wall; It was once clearly covered with graffiti; their poems and thoughts written by visitors dating from the sixth century, though a lot has faded now and some of the wall has broken away. This has been very important for experts studying the development of the Sinhala language over the years.
(Twisted Stairs-Sigiriya-Did King Kasyapa build this?) 

The huge lion’s claws through which there is a stone staircase to continue your climb, is possibly the most significant feature of Sigiriya, and gives the rock its name. From the summit you can observe the breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views of Pidurangala Rock, the Sigiriya Wewa and Mapagala Rock.

On the summit lies the ruins of the Royal Palace built for the King Kasyapa. Although few ruins still remain such as a pool, an eastern, sunrise-facing throne constructed from solid rock, and remains of other buildings and royal gardens. It is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Sri Lanka and the world over. However this is how the colonial historians make up their story.
The Architect of Sigiriya was Maya Dannawa
By Dr. Mirando Obeysekere – Ceylon Daily News – March 6th 2003

Was Sigiriya the abode of King Rawana?
This was the question of Dr. Lal Sirinivas of Bangalore who accompanied me to observe the historical and geographical facts as well as the background of world famous Sigiriya the rock fortress of Sri-Lanka. It is one of the unique monuments of antiquity as well as pre-historic culture in our country. According to the Ramayana this giant fortress had been the Alakamanda Palace of King Kuvera about 50 centuries ago.

King Kuvera was the grandson of Maharishi Pulasthi of Polonnaruwa. Kuvera’s father Visravasmuni was the elder son of Maharishi Pulasthi. Kuvera was the elder son of Visravasmuni’s first marriage with Princess Illavila, the beautiful daughter of Brahmin – hermit called Bharadwaja Magina. Later King Visravasmuni married Kesini, the beautiful daughter of Sumalin King of Asura. King Visravasmuni had a group of children by his second marriage with Kesini. They were Rawana, Vibishana, Kumbhakarna, Luxhmana, Hema, and Suparnika.

Kuvera, the first son of King Visravasmuni ascended the throne of Sri-Lanka after the death of his father and ruled the country in a just and a righteous manner. So, with the passage of time, Rawana the stepbrother of Kuvera, advanced in power, and got interested in the reign of Sri-Lanka and then asked for the transfer of Alakamanda, which was the abode of Kuvera, along with the throne and aeroplane called ‘Pushpika’. Kuvera was furious because of the unjust request of Rawana and chased him away. But Rawana was not a coward to be easily bullied by any one and he gathered his Yaksha relatives to wage war against Kuvera. Within a very short time Rawana the warrior came to power and got all Kuvera’s wealth, including the palace, throne and the airplanes.
  Some original historical records relate that the Sinhala race formed by the combination of four Sri-Lankan tribes such as Naga, Yaksha, Deva and Gandhabba all related to Maharishi Pulasthi’s family. So the Sivuhelas [four tribes] who worshipped the sun God united under the flag of King Rawana and developed this resplendent Island to be the treasure house of the Orient. The Rawana flag depicting the sun and moon with Rawana’s portrait is the oldest flag of Sri-Lanka. King Vijaya brought the present lion flag here 25 centuries ago.

As soon as Rawana came to power he built a temple for his beloved parents King Visravasmuni and Kesini. It is said that worshipping dead leaders was an ancient ritual by the Yaksha nobles in Sri-Lanka. “Visravasmuni Temple” at Anuradhapura which had been changed to a Buddhist shrine after the days of King Pandukabhaya, who had a special regard for Yakshas. This identical temple is called “Isurumuniya” the world famous stone carving of the lovers – at “Isurumuniya Vihara” depict none other than the parents of Rawana.

According to the ancient Ola manuscript – Rawana Katha, the foremost designer of the Sigiriya was the talented architect called Maya Dannawa. He built Sigiriya for the order of King Visravas the father of King Rawana. Sigiriya was known as Alakamanda during the days of Kuvera and later it was known as Chitrakoota.

  “Rawana Katha” an ancient Ola book says that, after Rawana’ s death Vibishana came to power and transferred the royal palace – fortress and capital from hill country to Kelaniya. Then, Chitrakoota the palace fortress of Rawana became the residence of Yaksha noble called Chithraraja, a relative of Vibishana. Chithraraja the hero who helped King Pandukabhaya [his parent] was a descendent of Chithraraja senior. Since the days of King Pandukabhaya, Chithraraja palace had been a Yaksha Temple and later King Dhatusena’s son Kasyapa [459-447 AD] arranged a coup d’état against the father and chose Chitrakoota Temple for his palace fortress as he had a belief that his mother too was a descendent of Yaksha dynasty. King Kasyapa is the only King who had renovated Chitrakoota [Sigiriya] and maintained it as Rawana did.
“Rawana Katha” the ancient Ola book relates that the world famous frescoes of Sigiriya depict the beautiful damsels of Rawana's harem and later those who maintain the treasure house had redrawn those murals. Most of the blue figures depict the Yaksha damsels and others depict Naga, Deva, and Gandhabba damsels. The beautiful flowers in their hands show the national unity.

Chitrakoota is the only Sri-Lankan fortress, which had a wooden lift, operated from top to bottom. If anyone enters this great fortress through the lion’s head, he will be able to see a huge hole on the rock. Stone structures and stands both on the top and bottom of this ‘route-hole’ are believed to be places on which the wooden lift had been fixed. King Rawana's period was famous for woodcraft and they used a ‘lift’ too, for the day-to-day work in the fort. History relates that the Rawana's airplane was also made of lightwood, which was brought from Himalayan forests. Archaeologists, historians, and some legends say that there were more than 500 paintings on the walls of Chitrakoota and most of them had been dilapidated due to natural causes. King Rawana was talented in all the fine arts as well as physician and pundit. So, we Sri-Lankan’s should be proud enough to have Chitrakoota or Sigiriya, the world’s oldest palace fortress.
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