Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, has fascinated me since the first postage stamp was issued by Sri Lanka with the famous Sigiriya Frescoes.
Sigiriya Rock is the hardened magma plug left behind by an eroded, ancient volcano. But it is more than that. It is the site of an ancient fortress which was surrounded by landscaped gardens. The remnants of both the fortress and gardens can be seen, and the site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The landscaped gardens are cool and almost magical in the morning light. Awe-inspiring to think that the steps we climb and the walls around us are, according to tradition, over 1600 years old.
Part-way up the steep face of the rock, in a protected area where one finally encounters the Sigiriya Frescoes or Maidens. Scholars are not in total agreement over who or what the Frescoes represent. Only 19 maidens survive the original set of 500. Painted in the style known as “fresco lustro” and carefully restored, the colours are vibrant, surviving the ages and even a vandal attack in the last century.
Further up the rock is what was originally the impressive formal entrance to the fortress – Lion Entrance. The huge forepaws and steps remain.
Finally a little bit of the view from the top. Sigiriya definitely does not disappoint.