The Best Rock Fortress Sigiriya


Sigiriya (Lion's rock) is a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale 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 (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.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.


John Still in 1907 suggested, "The whole face of  the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery.
the largest  picture in the world perhaps". The paintings would have covered most of  the western face 
of the rock, covering an area 140 metres long and 40  metres high. There are references in the graffiti 
to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, many more are lost forever, having been wiped out  when the 
Palace once more became a monastery - so that they would not  disturb meditation.[citation needed] 
Some more frescoes, different from  the popular collection, can be seen elsewhere on the rock surface, 
for  example on the surface of the location called the "Cobra Hood Cave".  Although the frescoes are 
classified as in the Anuradhapura period, the  painting style is considered unique [citation needed] the 
line and style of application of the paintings differing from Anuradhapura paintings. 

 The lines are painted in a form which enhances
 the sense of volume of  the figures. The paint has
 been applied in sweeping 
strokes, using more  pressure on one side, giving
 the effect of a deeper colour tone towards  the edge.
 Other paintings of the Anuradhapura period contain 
similar  approaches to painting, but do not have the 
sketchy lines of the  Sigiriya style, having a distinct
 artists' boundary line. The true  identity of the ladies
 in these paintings still have not been confirmed. 
There are various ideas about their identity. Some 
believe that they  are the wives of the king while some think that they are women taking  part in 
religious observances. These pictures have a close resemblance  to some of the paintings seen in 
the ajanta caves in IndiaThe frescoes,  depicting beautiful female figures in graceful contour or colour,
 point  to the direction of the Kandy temple, sacred to the Sinhalese.