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Sigiriya (Lion’s rock) is a large stone ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka. It is surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures and renowned for its ancient frescos. It is one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. It is also declared by UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the World.
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 the entire complex was built by King Kashaypa (AD 477 – 495), and after the king’s death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.
Halfway up the rock, within an inaccessible rocky shelter in the vertical wall of the western face are rock paintings which have brought universal acclaim to the site of Sigiriya – ‘The Maidens of the Clouds’, 21 non-identified female figures, comparable to the most beautiful creations of Ajanta
Sigiriya consists of an ancient castle built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century. The Sigiriya site has the remains of an upper palace sited on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes, the lower palace that clings to the slopes below the rock, and the moats, walls, and gardens that extend for some hundreds of metres out from the base of the rock.
The site is both a palace and a fortress. Despite its age, the splendour of the palace still furnishes a stunning insight into the ingenuity and creativity of its builders. The upper palace on the top of the rock includes cisterns cut into the rock that still retain water. The moats and walls that surround the lower palace are still exquisitely beautiful.
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. 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; 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 India
The frescoes, depicting beautiful female figures in graceful contour or colour, point to the direction of the Kandy temple, sacred to the Sinhalese.
Just mind blowing! how come the rest of the world never talks about this stupendous site??
Originally posted by isyeye
Sigiriya : The 8th Wonder of the World
It is also declared by UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the World.