North Central District
Dating back to over 7,000 years, Sigiriya portrays the ancient
architectural tradition of Sri Lanka. It is the best preserved city
centre in Asia from the first millennium, with its combination of
buildings and gardens with their trees, pathways, water gardens, the
fusion of symmetrical and asymmetrical elements, use of varying levels
and of axial and radial planning. There is now a proposal to name
Sigiriya as the Eighth Wonder of the world.
The most significant feature of the Rock would have
been the Lion staircase leading to the palace garden on the summit.
Through the open mouth of the Lion had led the covered staircase built
of bricks and timber and a tiled roof. But what remains now are the two
colossal paws and a mass of brick masonry that surround the ancient
The two pockets of paintings surviving in the depressions of the rock
face, about a 100 meters above the ground level, represent the earliest
surviving examples of a Sri Lankan school of classical realism. There
are also a few remnant paintings in some of the caves at the foot of the
Just inside the inner wall of the western
precinct lies the water garden, consisting of water pavilions, pools,
cisterns, courtyards, conduits and water courses which hold the
fascination of the visitors.
At a higher level from the symmetrical water
garden lies the boulder garden which is a totally different organic or
asymmetrical concept, with winding pathways, natural boulders. It also
has the Cistern Rock which has a large cistern made of huge slabs of
granite. Besides, there is the Audience Hall rock, with a 5 metre long
throne carved out of the rock.
The Terrace Garden:
Lying at the base of the rock, it is
fashioned out of the natural hill, made with rubbled retaining walls.
Each terrace runs in a concentric circle around the rock, rising above
The Palace Garden:
It was the domestic garden with plenty of
terraces and rock cut pools. It is at the top of the summit.
The Wildlife Sanctuary:
The Sigiriya Sanctuary is in and around
the famous Sigiriya rock and is adjacent to the Minneriya National park.
The forest types are mainly dry evergreen forest, shrub forests, and dry
deciduous forest. The fauna of Sigiriya is highlighted by the elephant
population, which migrate to the area from time to time; sumbar and
birds like eagle and falcon.
The nearest international airport as well as the
sea port are at Colombo, 183 kms away.
Internal connectivity is facilitated by an excellent
network of rail and road transport system.
High class Hotel complexes exist along the sanctuary boundary. Besides,
there are also various budget hotels and guest houses in and around