Sigiriya rock fortress also referred to as the “LION ROCK “ is undoubtedly the highly attractive and the most captured miracle in Sri Lanka. This miraculous rock is approximately 600 feet in height and is located in the Matale District. There are a number of reasons why this rock has been recognized as a unique world heritage. Among them are the artistic thinking behind the frescoes, the lion gate, boulder gardens, the many ladies of Sigiriya and poetry referencing frescoes on the walls of Sigiriya.
The story behind the battle for the throne
The ruins of this giant creation hide the distracting past of its sovereign, King Kasyapa. Although he was the eldest of the family, King Dhatusena overlooked him in favour of his youngest son Moggallana who had been born to Dhatusena’s imperial spouse which made Kasyapa unhappy and felt displeasure towards his family. King Dhatusena was responsible for the dreadful murder of Migara’s mother. Migara was the commander of King Dhatusena’s army. Then to take revenge Migara persuaded Kasyapa to protest against the King. Then they built a conspiracy and vanquished King Dhatusena and seized the throne. After claiming the throne, Kasyapa tried to get the people’s attraction but his efforts went in vain. As the death of his father, King Dhatusena was committed upon his word, people didn’t accept his perspective. Due to the continuous rejection of the people and the dreadful reprisal of Moggallana, Kasyapa escaped from Anuradhapura to Sigirya rock.
The story behind the construction of the palace
As Kasyapa had been rejected by the people he thought of using his wealth to design an extravagant kingdom with beautiful gardens, pools, and fountains for himself. The western walls were painted with frescoes of pretty ladies. The mirror wall was actually created to admire the king himself whenever he walked past it. And the most remarkable creation was the entrance to his place which was guarded by a massive stone lion which symbolizes the monarch of King Kasyapa. Alakamanda, which was recognized as a city of gods built in the clouds was chosen by Kasyapa to create his new palace at Sigiriya.
Was Kasyapa actually a rude person?
Despite his greediness towards the throne, according to the legends, Kasyapa was not a rude person at heart. He aggraced the artistic thoughts and the poetries. During 14 year time he had been ruling, he realized the fault that he killed his father and conspicuously gave an effort to repent within the confines of his faith in an attempt to find some peace.
During this period Moggallana had fled to South India and had managed to raise an army in order to fight back for his throne. During the battle Kasyapa allowed Moggallana to reclaim the throne which was Moggallana’s birthright. It was a kind of a tragic incident in Srilankan history. Kasyapa axed his own throat during the battle and ended his region.
In spite of the folklores regarding this heritage, there are still some hidden secrets surrounding Sigiriya.
This is located near the water gardens at the base of Sigiriya rock. There is an amphitheatre in one part of the boulder gardens. King Kasyapa is said to have entertained the audiences here. It is such a rare scenery even in the modern-day world that how such inequable elements of symmetry and asymmetry sit by the side in boulder gardens.
This is the most highlighted scenery of the lion rock and the key factor which almost all the travellers here are willing to experience up close. These are believed to have aggrandized the entire rock. By the time King Kasyapa started building the palace, a group of monks was moved by him to Pidurangala Rock that located within easy reach of the lion rock. After the fall of King Kasyapa, the rock was handled by the monks. Around approximately 700 inscriptions from the 8th,9th and 10th centuries have since been translated from the wall. Among the secrets that are hidden in these frescoes, Monks believed the woman to be a deflection to the clergy. And also other whispers suggest that these frescoes are obviously a symbol of Srilanka Unified under the YAKKA rule.
The stone lion gate
All that remains of the structure now are two massive paws that flank a staircase. There is an open mouth of the head of the lion in which through the stairs once led. During the battle, the massive boulder was being planned to be dropped on opposite armies that were attacking. Due to that, the lion rock was in the process of being raised on splints. In this strategy the noticeable weakness found was that it did not really overhang any of the paths that one would enter the lion gate. There are only a few defensive structures left surrounding this inner sanctum. It is believed that the reason behind this was, a long time ago they might have collapsed.
HOW DID KASYAPA TREAT LADIES?
Among the graffiti that was found on the walls of Sigiriya, the ladies of the court of King Kasyapa are highly notable. These ladies are believed to have been associated with hermitage where Kasyapa had donated his two daughters named Uppalawanna and Bodhi So this says that the ladies of Sigiriya are in fact royalty
Sigiriya frescoes and poems
Everyone knows that lots of poems are dedicated to the frescoes on the rock. one of them is “the chant of the lover boy agboy”.It is about the comparison of different complexions of two ladies and further shows his favour for one lady over the other.
There are many other poems that annotate the physical shape of the women on the mountainside.
Koskela Deva who was a Sigiri poet narrated how a lady with a golden complexion had stolen his heart. So this shows that men preferred fair-skinned women since then.
The creativity of the frescoes
These frescoes and paintings are common to India’s Ajanta Caves and they belong to the Gupta style. But the Sigiriya frescoes are more vibrant and fluid compared to those found in Ajanta Caves. They represent the ancient Sinhala artistic perspective. They display female sensuality.
Outer walls of Sigiriya
There is a deep moat in Sigiriya that is believed to have been filled with crocodiles and required to have a drawbridge in order to cross it. When entering Sigiriya, visitors have to cross it. It is believed that this moat was built with walls that are approximately 6-8 feet tall.
There were defensive walls as well. This creation is simply an example to show the intelligence of King Kasyapa. When the opposite armies swam across these crocodile-infested waters, these enemies could be attacked by the crocodiles. In each and every wall there was a clear passage that indicates that mobile troops could communicate and respond anywhere in the defence.
There is a kind of a secret here, the moat does not completely cover the fortress. This might be because the front portions that have been excavated were perhaps simply an entry water feature
Remember to leave only your footprints and bring back only the memories of your experience, if you ever get a chance to see this world heritage.
By Rtr. Dimuthu Chathuranga