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Updated by Sirius Black on May 25, 2016
Headline for Things to See in Sigiriya – Remarkable Hamlet of much Splendour
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Sirius Black Sirius Black
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Things to See in Sigiriya – Remarkable Hamlet of much Splendour

The iconic attraction in Sigiriya is the Lions Rock Fortress; one of the most impressive kingdoms in Sri Lanka and a UNESCO Heritage Site. Sigiriya is also home to wild elephants and rugged environs.

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The Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Well known across the world as the Lions Rock Fortress, this spectacular national landmark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rock which stands at a height of about 200 metres in the middle of a lush environ is testament to how great the Sri Lankan Kingdom once was. Chosen as an impenetrable fortress by King Kashyapa in the 5th century, this rock was turned into an almost heavenly citadel. The name Lions Rock is derived from the huge Lions paws and lions head which guards the entrances. The citadel was made resplendent with beautiful mural paintings famous throughout the world as the Sigiriya Bithu Sithuwam these are frescos of women many debate to be royal nobility and their handmaidens or ethereal beings floating down from the heavens. All this makes a visit to the fortress one of the top thing to do in Sigiriya. Remember to reserve a half day for this excursion, take along enough water and protection from the sun. Listed below are 2 of the main attractions in detail.

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The Boulder Garden – Rock Fortress

The Sigiriya Rock, which is within view of the Hotel Sigiriya, is well known for its boulder garden. This consists of a jungle garden and twisting pathways that meander across carefully placed boulders. The asymmetrical layout is quite impressive and it is believed that every boulder held a pavilion. The boulder garden is where the Sigiriya monks resided and you can still see evidence of this in the surrounding areas.

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The Sigiriya Damsels – Rock Fortress

The most iconic attraction in Sigiriya these ancient frescos of 21 damsels date back to hundreds of year. Although some are faded due to the rigours of time many remain and are closely guarded. Take a spiral staircase into the inner chamber of the rock and you come across an entire wall painted with the bare chested damsels whose upper torso end in floating clouds. The women are depicted to be scattering the petals of lotus blossoms and offering trays of fruit. The paintings were done in the 5th century on the order of King Kashyapa and are a change from the norm; where many ancient Sri Lanka paintings seem to concentrate on depicting Buddhist cultural expressions.

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Explore Minneriya Park

Apart for the wonders of Sigiriya you can experience the sleepy village's second attraction - the fascinating wild elephants. Book a jeep safari – right from your Sigiriya resort – into the confines of the Minneriya National Park. Minneriya itself is one of the most verdant environs in the country. Surrounded by the Minneriya Lake the park welcomes herds of migratory wild elephants. August is high season for observing these gentle mammals in large numbers.

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Take an Elephant Ride Across the Lotus Lake

Those of you who want lasting memories of Sri Lanka can book a thrilling elephant ride across the Lotus Lake at the foot of the Sigiriya Rock. The beautiful Lake covered by dazzling lotus flowers is an ideal location for observing water buffaloes, birds, monkeys and other wildlife.