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Rock Cut Pool, Sigiriya Rock

Rock Cut Pool, Sigiriya Rock

Rock Cut Pool, Sigiriya Rock

Here we see a rock cut pool or cistern at the top of Sigiriya Rock, an impressive 5th century fortress built on top of a isolated rock in the centre of Sri Lanka.

Many thanks to Ken Creed for sending us these pictures, which were taken by his wife's uncle Terry Ruff during his time with No.357 Squadron, a special operations unit that operated over Burma, Malaya and Sumatra.

Sri Lanka: Sigiriya was constructed by Afro-Egyptians - New Documentary

A new documentary in which English version was published a few days ago claimed that the Afro-Egyptians in Egypt were behinds the massive construction on the rock in Sigiriya thousands of years ago.

Sigiriya can be described as one of the steps taken by the Afro-Egyptians who designed and engineered the great pyramids in Egypt to spread their technology around the world. After creating the pyramids, they travelled around the world and shared their technology with different countries.

Sigiriya, one of most tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province in the island nation. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high.

According to the three and half hours long documentary directed by Fehmi Krasniqi, “the extraordinary Sigiriya, there is no original staircase from the ground to access it. The first metal staircase was installed in 1900 and it did not go all the way up. How did workers get there? And how were they able to transport the material and food? How were these notches made on the wall of the granite cliff? Huge rocks placed all around and have the most bizarre tool marks, which can't be explained. For example look at these rocks. It literally has hundreds of small cubes cut out of it. And on the top we even have a larger cube cutout as those someone wanted to sit there. This is not just a theory. We have actually evidence in front of our eyes.”

“Look here. We don't see individual chisel marks. We see long snake like winding tool marks which are continues. This tools marks reminds us of scooping ice cream out of a container. Ancient builders must have used similar technology to scoop out granite like ice cream. How were 3 million red clay bricks carried up? “

“In Sigiriya, the rock was cut on the side to give it the shape we see today. At the top of the rock, there was a step pyramid built with red sandstone bricks. A granite swimming pool was built, with a throne to contemplate the unique landscape. The gardens were built with the meter, the sacred triangle and the Golden rectangle. The entire site is oriented in the same way as in Tikal, (in Guatemala).”

However, the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kashyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes.

But this new documentary is scientifically trying to prove the real picture of the history which unfortunately does not teach in any school or university.

“The truth is that this mysterious and greatly developed civilization was Egypt. If there is an obscured truth, it is that this Egypt was Negro. They discovered solar energy. Without solar energy, there would have been no great pyramid,” the documentary narrated.

“Afro-Egyptians discovered that the Earth was round, and they were the first to have travelled and explore it up and down. Whenever a civilization was brought into contact with Egypt, temples arose, and that civilization was propelled forward. A myth was born: that of cut stone. Humanity was built with all forms of concrete and not with cut stone. The ancient history of Egypt, Africa, Asia and America must be fully rewritten.”

“They are in Egypt. With chemistry and physics, math and geometry in tandem, Negro Egypt allowed us to build temples, streets, houses, sports stadiums, enough to build humanity. They laid the pillars of science, the first alphabet, art, philosophy, medicine and religions. They are at the origin of the cultures of the world.”

“They created the cultures of the world. That is the greatest mystery of humanity!! Wherever they settled, they built a temple and later a city was born. Let's ask the right question.”

“Should we put an end to the mystery of the pyramids maintained by some Egyptologists? Egypt has an important task, that of preserving the cradle of humanity. It is the duty of all countries to help because if you do not have a past you will not have a future.”

“Imhotep was the greatest scientist of humanity, and the Negroes of Africa gave their knowledge, chemistry, architecture, geometry, mathematics, to all other peoples. And in return what did they receive as a reward? Centuries of slavery, suffering, misery, massacres and it never ends!! The looting and insult to Africa continue today. What if we finally all share our riches? It's time for humanity to mature.”

Legendary Past of Sigiriya

According to the researches of Dr Mirando Obesekara, He identify the Sigiriya as a historical turning point of Ravana. Before 50 centuries Sigiriya named as Alakamandawa (Akasa Maligawa).

The Indian ancient epic story “Ramayanaya” described the brother of Rawana (Kuwera/Waisrwana) is the owner of the Alakamandawa (Sigiriya).

According to the Ravana watha Palm leaf book, Mayadanawa is the Architecture of the Sigiriya.

He buid the Sigiriya according to instruction given by Vessamuni / Wishrawa Muni (Father of Ravana).

Finally palace was dedicated for Ravana’s Brother King Kuwera(Waishrawana).

After-wards the Ravana has banished the Kuwera & Got the Sigiriya under his Control.

Sigiriya Frescoes,History,Mirror Wall,Water Technology,Photos with Description in Sinhala

Sigiriya Rock Fortress of Sri Lanka is considered by the local population as the 8th Wonder of the World, retroflex ancient City Planning, Hydraulic Technology, Defense, Arts, Garden landscaping and Engineering around 5th Century AD. Called also as the "Lion Rock" it reaches a height of 200 meters from the surrounding landscape. Sigiriya is located at Matale district near Dambulla. It can be reached along Colombo- Habarana highway by turning towards east from Inamaluwa. Proceeding about 10 km from Inamaluwa and passing Kimbissa township one arrives at Sigiriya.

Sigiriya history is well cronicled and before Sigiriya became a Kingdom, Sigiriya Rock base and the places such as Pidurangala which were endowed with many caves and a temple had been dwelled by Buddhist monks from around 3rd Century BC. It is also found that these areas had been inhabitant by people prior to King Kassapa's rein. Many caves have Brahmi Inscriptions dating back from 3rd Century BC to 1st century AD.

After King Mahanama who ruled Anuradhapura from 410- 432 AD, a prince named Dhatusena became the King of Anuradhapura in 459 AD, defeating the Indian invader 'Pandu'. King Dhatusena was the ruler who constructed Kala Wewa or the Kala Wewa Tank, by building a dam across Kala Oya , which is a small river type. The man-made 54 mile long Yoda Ela, which takes water from Kala Wewa to Tissa Wewa is considered as an Irrigation engineering wonder even at the present day. It has a gradient of 6 inches per mile along the first 17 miles , which means the level different is just over 8 feet even after the first 17 miles along the canal. The high level of Water technology knowledge during this period can be assessed from the construction work that remains still in working condition. During this king's rein the famous full-relief Aukana Buddha statue was constructed out of a rock which stands 42 feet high depicting the art and craft of stone sculpturing.

He had two sons from two of his queens. Mugalan [ also called as Moggallana ] from the head queen and Kassapa's [ also called as Kashyapa ] from a companion queen. Prince Kashyapa, with the help of the general of the army of King Dhatusena, named Migara, got his father killed and became the King. Prince Mugalan, fearing for his life, escaped to India. The Buddhist Bhikkus and the people were against his conduct and favoured Price Mugalan for the rulership. Fearing that Mugalan will come with an army from India to avenge him at a later day, King Kashyapa decided to make Sigiriya as his kingdom. During his rule of eighteen years from 477 AD to 495 AD Sigiriya Kingdom was created. It is believed that he sought the refuge of Sigiriya rock for his safety fearing for his life.

After 18 years, Prince Mugalan came with an army from India to fight with King Kassapa. During the battle Kashyapa killed himself thus Mugalan became the King. He went back to Anuradhapura and ruled the country from there and handed over Sigiriya back to the Buddhist priests. Sigiriya as a Kingdom was abandoned in around 1150 AD and was almost forgotten for the next seven centuries. Though King Kashyapa is not regarded in high esteem in Sri Lankan history due to his dubious conduct, he is credited as the ruler with unsurpassed imagination put into reality to create a Sri Lankan style marvel of high caliber art and engineering construction skills that could even challange the other world structures at that time, which definitely is amazing even in the 21st century with whatever is remaining as ruins of Sigiriya Kingdom thus considering Sigiriya as the Eighth wonder of the World.

Art and Engineering of Sigiriya

The Sigiriya Rock Fortress itself has its unique identity due to its shape not found anywhere else in the island and can be recognized miles away from the distance.

Sigiriya was rediscovered during the rule of the British, by Major H. Forbes in 1831. Climbing to the Sigiriya summit was achieved by A.H.Adams and J.Bailey in 1853.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress being the citadel fortress, had been well designed for its defenses by having ramparts and moats built around it. There are several approaches to the inner city and the most prominent is the Western entrance. From the summit of the rock, the land areas up to distances of tens of miles can be watched making it hard for the enemy to make a surprise attack to the kingdom.

King Kassapa had reverted his fortress to an ecological wonder by having Royal Pleasure Gardens, Water Gardens , Fountain Gardens and Boulder Gardens made inside the inner city as well as at the palace premises on the Rock summit. Employment of Water Technology had been tremendous since there are water fountains that are manmade and that are still working. Also there are Ponds in rock summit considered to be filled with water from a lower elevation.

The most renowned is the Sigiriya Frescoes of Sigiri Damsels locally called as 'Sigiri Apsaras' painted on a Western Rock face cavity about 100 meters high from the rock base .There now remains around 21 paintings of Sigiriya Frescoes but there had been around five hundred paintings during King Kassapa's time along several other places of the same Western Rock face.

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image s of the Sigiri Frescoes done on Rock cavity.

Another interesting construction of Sigiriya Rock Fortress is the Sigiriya Mirror Wall, which is covered with graffiti that consists of Sinhala Poems from the 7th to the 10th centuries AD. These were written by the people who came to see Sigiriya during those long years. These are called as "Sigiri kurutu gee" by the local population. Coming along the path of the mirror wall, one find the Lion Paw Terrace or Platform. Only two huge Lion's paws are remaining now but earlier there had been an enormous Lion figure or statue at the entrance. Through the Lion's paw stairway, the summit can be reached taking the iron stairway built on to the rock face. On the summit are the remains of the Palace building foundations and few ponds on a area of about 3 acres of rock summit. The largest pond was made by cutting out the rock and it is assumed that utilizing the great wind force occurring on the summit, water was brought up to fill this tank by a hydraulic system using wind power from the ground level. This is one of the top most examples of Water Technology remained at the time in addition to Water irrigatin feats with building huge artificial tanks and canals to take water many miles afar.

For the reader, there are hundreds of interesting Sigiriya Fortress images with description included in this web page. Through the information on Sigiriya appearing in this web page an essay can be easily created.

Walking up to the Sigiriya Rock from the Car Park

When visiting Sigiriya Rock Fortress the main Vehicle park for the visitors is at the New Sigiriya Town and after purchasing the Ticket, one needs to walk by foot up to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress through the path bordered with trees for about a kilometer. Passing the outer moat and the rampart one comes to the Yan Oya. Passing it there is the Archeological Museum to the Right side .There is a second Moat that has to be crossed by the bridge erected there to proceed towards the Sigiriya rock. Moats were used as a defensive method at earlier times to safeguard citadels from enemy.

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.


Cave temples Edit

The earliest evidence of rudimentary cave temples are found in Mihintale, a unique feature in these caves was the use of a drip ledge (kataraya) carved along the top edge of the rock ceiling which stopped rain water running into the cave. With time doors, windows and walls of brick or stone were added. [2] The roof and walls were plastered white and finished with decorative paintings, these are evident in the cave temples of Dambulla. [3]

Cave complexes of Dambulla, Situlpahuwa, Mulkirigala are significant cave temples which demonstrate rudimentary architectural developments of the island. The Kaludiya Pokuna, Mihintale cave temple was constructed with brick walls, granite window openings, and ceilings. The Gal vihara, Polonnaruwa and the cave temples of Dambulla were initially constructed as cave temples, later on the cave temples were converted to image houses.

Dagobas or stupas Edit

The dagobas or stupas of Sri Lanka are significant to the architectural and engineering development in the island, stupas designed and constructed in Sri Lanka are the largest brick structures known to the pre-modern world. [4] [5] Demala Maha Seya, which was never completed, had a circumference of 2,011 feet (613 m), Jetavanaramaya at the time of its completion was the largest stupa constructed in any part of the world at 122 m in height. Jetavanaramaya was also the third tallest building in the ancient world, [4] Abhayagiri Dagaba (370 ft) and Ruwanwelisaya (300 ft) were also significant constructions of the ancient world.

The construction of stupas were considered acts of great merit, the purpose of stupas were mainly to enshrine relics of Buddha. The design specifications are consistent within most of the stupas, entrances to stupas are laid out so that their centre lines point to the relic chambers. Stupa design it is admired for its structural perfection and stability, stupas such as Jetavanarama, Abhayagiri, and Mirisaveti Stupa were in the shape of a paddy heap. Other shapes such as the bubble(Ruwanweli), pot and bell developed later, it is suggested that the stupa at Nadigamvila was in the shape of an onion. [2]

An ornamented vahalkada was added to stupa design around the 2nd century the earliest is at Chaitya. The four vahalkadas face the cardinal points, ornamented with figures of animals, flowers, swans and dwarfs. The pillars on either side of the vahalkada carry figures of lions, elephants, horses or bulls, depending on the direction of the structure. [2]

The stupas were covered with a coating of lime plaster, plaster combinations changed with the requirements of the design, items used included lime, clay, sand, pebbles, crushed seashells, sugar syrup, white of egg, coconut water, plant resin, drying oil, glues and saliva of white ants. [2] The fine plaster at Kiri Vehera used small pebbles, crushed seashells mixed with lime and sand were used in the stupas from the 5th to 12th centuries.

Vatadage Edit

The vatadage is considered to be one of ancient Sri Lanka's most prolific architectural creations this design represented a changing perspective of stupa design independently within the island. [6] Early provincial vatadages have been in the form of a square [6] later it developed into a circular form enclosing the dagoba. [2] Polonnaruwa, Medirigiriya and Tiriyaya vatadages still have their circles of slender, graceful pillars. The vatadage roof was of a sophisticated design unique to ancient Sri Lanka, it is a three-tiered conical roof, spanning a height of 12–15 m, without a centre post, and supported by pillars of diminishing height. The weight was taken by a ring beam supported on the inner row of stone columns, the radiating rafters met in a cartwheel-like design. [2] The ornamental qualities of the Polonnaruwa vatadage are highly valued and scholars maintain that the Polonnaruwa vatadage represents the best architectural work of the Polonnaruwa period. [6]

Meditation houses Edit

The meditation houses found in the forest monasteries in Ritigala and Arankele are unique to Sri Lanka, Each house consist of two raised platforms, linked to each other by a monolithic stone bridge. The outer platform is open to the sky, larger and higher than the inner platform. These meditation houses achieved a very high degree of perfection in their architecture, the design combined square and rectangular shapes and yet maintained symmetry, indicating the architects' sophisticated knowledge of geometry. The stone masonry is also of a very high standard. The basements of these buildings were constructed of monumental blocks of stone, cut to different sizes, carefully dressed and very finely fitted together. The bridge connecting the two platforms was formed out of a single slab of stone. Some such slabs measured 15 feet (5 m) by 13 feet (4 m). The sides have been cut with precision where the joints between the slab and the stone moulding of the platforms are hardly perceptible.

Vaulted roof shrine Edit

The brick shrine with vaulted roof, as seen at Thuparama, Lankatilaka and Tivanka Pilimage, is also considered unique to Sri Lanka. The Thuparama is almost intact today and gives an idea of the manner in which the vaulted roof was created. The principles of the true arch were known to the ancient Sri Lankans, but the horizontal arch was considered a safer method of construction.

The nine-storied Lovamahapaya (3rd century BCE) would have been an elegant building. It had an exposed wooden frame supported on stone pillars. It was plastered in white, with shining copper roof tiles and a pinnacle at its apex. It had lightning conductors or chumbakam made of amber and tourmaline. Its rafters were made of talipot palm. It rose to a height of 162 feet (49 m) and had approximately 179,316 square feet (16,659 m 2 ) of floor space. It could seat 9000 monks. Roland Silva remarked in 1984 that such an extensive floor space would stagger the designers in Sri Lanka "even today". The dominant element in these buildings, was the tiled roof supported by timber beams and rafters. The roofs were tiled, from as early as the 3rd century BCE, with red, white, yellow, turquoise and brown tiles. There were also tiles made of bronze.

Five royal residences have been identified. They are Vijayabahu's palace in the inner city at Anuradhapura, the palaces of Nissanka Malla and Parakramabahu in Polonnaruwa, the palace of Sugala in Galabadda in the Uva province, and Parakramabahu's palace in Panduwasnuwara near Hettipola, when he was ruling over Malaya rata.

Ground plan All the palaces had the same ground plan. Each was set in a rectangular area enclosed by galleries with an entrance from the east. A spacious courtyard in front acted as a reception room, where sitting was not allowed. A flight of steps led to a central building where there was an imposing pillared hall with a dais at the end. Around the royal complex were over fifty small cells, in two or three rows. The hall in Nissanka Malla's palace was 133 feet (41 m) by 63 feet (19 m). The floors of the upper storey in Parakramabahu's palace were of concrete. [Panduwasnuwara] palace had good provision for ventilation and there were soakage pits for drainage.

Rock Palaces Edit

There was a palace on top of Sigiriya rock as well. The outlines, layout and several detailed features of this Sky Palace are still visible. There was an upper palace that ran parallel to the lower one, but at a much higher elevation. It had a viewing gallery. The innermost royal abode, which was originally a storeyed structure, had a magnificent 360 degree view of the city gardens and countryside below. There was a series of successive courtyards, chambers, and terraces connected by stairs and paved pathways.

Kuttam Pokuna in Anuradhapura provides one of the best examples of the construction of a royal bath. A flight of long narrow steps led to an oblong shaped pond that had graduated gangways. The water was conducted by underground pipelines from the canal nearby and led into the bath by two makara gargoyles. A stone water lock acted as water locking valve and an exit for used water. There is also a now-ruined changing room. Other magnificent pool designs in Anuradhapura era such as "Twin Ponds" Kuttam Pokuna, "lotus Pond" Nelum pokuna, "hot water pond" janthagara Pokona, ath Pokuna-built for water storage and "black water pool" Kaludiya Pokuna are significant. Also there are significant series of ponds and pools which contains water fountains at the Sigiriya citadel, which marvels the hydro engineering in the ancient Sri Lanka.

Polonnaruwa also has the remains of two magnificent audience halls. They are the public audience halls of Parakramabahu and council chamber of Nissanka Malla. Parakramabahu's council chamber was a three-tiered oblong structure built on a broad terrace, facing north, and consisted of an entrance provided with two flights of steps, having a gangway in between at ground level. The pillars in the council halls at Polonnaruwa are square at the bottom, octagonal in the middle and square again at the top.

Some idea of hospital architecture can be inferred from the monastic hospitals at Mihintale and Polonnaruwa. This hospital plan can be seen at the National Museum, Colombo. There was an inner and outer court and the rectangular inner court had a series of cells, toilets and bath, with an exit at one end. One cell had a medicinal bath. Alahena had long dormitories instead of cells. The outer court accommodated a refectory, a hot water bath, storerooms and dispensary. A wall cordoned off the hospitals. The provision of two open courts in addition to windows ensured maximum ventilation and free circulation of air within the building itself.

A house dated to 450 BCE, built of warichchi (wattle and daub) has been discovered near Kirindi oya. Another has been found at Adalla, Wirawila, and at Valagampattu evidence has been discovered of houses dating from 50 CE to 400 CE. The kitchen utensils are still there. In medieval times, the rich had large houses built of stone, mortar and lime, with tiled roofs and whitewashed walls. There were rooms and apartments with doors and windows. The windows had fanlights. The doors had keys, locks, and hinges. The houses had compounds or courtyards and balconies. There were separate rooms for pounding paddy, a storeroom or atuva for paddy, and sheds for keeping chariots. Latrines are also mentioned. All houses however had small kitchens.

Architects Edit

There were architects to attend to the built environment. A cave inscription refers to a "city architect". Building was done scientifically, using superior instruments. For example, some stone slabs were so precisely cut that the joints are hardly visible and nothing could be inserted between the slabs. Ashley de Vos points out that this would require sophisticated instruments even today. Lifting and placing of slender stone slabs, twenty feet long, would have needed knowledge of structural mechanics. De Vos also suggests that Sri Lanka may have had the first pre-fabricated buildings in the world. Some sections of the monastic buildings were prepared separately and then fitted together.

Artistry Edit

There was artistry in addition to technical finesse. This is illustrated in the elegantly executed stone pillars dating from the 8th century. They are in various designs. The lotus-stalk pillars of the Nissanka Latha Mandapaya are unique in South Asian architecture. Lime mortar was used in brickwork only when there was a structural risk such as a vault or an arch.

Water Edit

There were island pavilions surrounded by water called Sitala Maligawa. There were ponds with lotuses. The royal gardens in Polonnaruwa had dozens of individually named ponds in different shapes and sizes. Sigiriya had an octagonal pond. Polonnaruwa had one resembling the coils of a serpent and another like an open lotus. Kuttam Pokuna in Anuradhapura had a graduated series of ponds going from shallow to deep. Essential facilities were not forgotten: the Nandana Gardens had a large gleaming bathroom.

Air cooling Edit

There was an air cooling method in the ancient period. A dried buffalo skin was fixed above the roof of the building. Water dripped onto it from several pipes, creating the effect of rain and sending in a cooling breeze. Pictures on walls were changed according to the season cooling pictures for the hot season and warming pictures for the cool season.

Building materials Edit

Builders worked with a variety of materials, such as brick, stone and wood. Corbelled and circular brick arches, vaults and domes were constructed. Rock faces were used as supporting walls for buildings. The platform carrying the mirror wall at Sigiriya and the brick flight of steps stand on steep rock. Around the 6th century, the builders had moved from limestone to the harder gneiss. The vatadage in Polonnaruwa had walls that were constructed of stone to the height of the upper storey. The lowest step of an imposing granite stairway that led to the upper storey of Parakramabahu's palace can still be seen. Meticulous detailing had been done in the leaf huts used by the forest monks of the 5th century.

Timber Edit

It is important to note, however, that the ancient architecture was not stone architecture. The stone remains seen are misleading. It was primarily timber architecture, with mud or masonry walls. There were sophisticated wooden buildings from the 3rd century. Sigiriya had an elaborate gatehouse made of timber and brick masonry with multiple tiled roofs. The massive timber doorposts remaining today indicate this.

The timber carried the load. Frames were made out of whole trunks of trees. The gatehouse at the eastern entrance to Anuradhapura built in the 4th century BC used whole trees. The palaces at Polonnaruwa and Panduwasnuwara show vertical crevices in the brickwork where wooden columns, consisting of entire trunks of trees, carried the load of the upper floors and roof. These openings still retain the spur stones upon which the wooden column once stood.

The text of the Manjusri silpa describes methods for the cutting and seasoning of wood. Mature trees were selected and cut in the new moon when the sugar content in timber was lower, so that destructive woodboring insects were not attracted to the timber. The stone remains show that sound carpentry techniques were employed. The axe, adze and chisel were the common tools used in timber work. Saddharmarat-navali mentions two practices of carpentry. Oil was applied to timber to prevent decay, and wood was heated to straighten it.

Water Gardens

The miniature water garden just inside the inner wall of the western precinct, consists of water pavilions, pools, cisterns, courtyards, conduits and water courses. The pebbled or marbled water-surrounds covered by shallow slowly moving water would have served as cooling devices with an aesthetic appeal with visual and sound effects, which could be visualised by a visitor who could spend a little time.

The largest water garden has a central island surrounded by water and linked to the main precinct by cardinally-oriented causways. This was created 5 centuries before those at Angkor in Cambodia or Mughal gardens in India. The central island would have been occupied by a large pavilion.

The water is in four L-shaped pools, connected by underground water conduits at varying depths, to provide different water levels. The pool on the south-west, is divided into a large bathing pool, with a corbelled tunnel and steps leading down into it. The other pool is smaller with a central boulder on which was a brick-built pavilion.

The fountain garden is a narrow precinct on two levels. Western half has two long and deep pools, with shallow serpentine streams draining into the pools. These had been paved with marble slabs. These streams display the fountains, which have been made from circular limestone plates with symmetrical perforations, which are fed by underground water conduits and operate by gravity and pressure. There are two shallow limestone cisterns which would have served as storage and pressure chambers for the fountains. These fountains are still active during the rainy season from November to January.

On either side of the fountains are four large moated islands , oriented north-south, cutting across the central axis of the water garden. This too shows the symmetrical repetition. The flattened surfaces of the islands were meant for the Summer Palaces or 'water pavilions'. Access to the pavilions were across bridges cut into the surface rock.

The Octagonal pond is at a point where the water garden and the boulder garden meet, a still higher level from the rest of the water garden. It is at the base of a towering boulder. There is a raised podium and a drip ledge, which would have formed the bathing pavilion . The pond is surrounded by a wide terrace also octagonal.

The Gardens

The Gardens of the Sigiriya city are one of the most important aspects of the site, as it is among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. The gardens are divided into three distinct but linked forms: water gardens, cave and boulder gardens, and terraced gardens.

The water gardens can be seen in the central section of the western precinct. Three principal gardens are found here. The first garden consists of a plot surrounded by water. It is connected to the main precinct using four causeways, with gateways placed at the head of each causeway. This garden is built according to an ancient garden form known as char bagh, and is one of the oldest surviving models of this form.

The second contains two long, deep pools set on either side of the path. Two shallow, serpentine streams lead to these pools. Fountains made of circular limestone plates are placed here. Underground water conduits supply water to these fountains which are still functional, especially during the rainy season. Two large islands are located on either side of the second water garden. Summer palaces are built on the flattened surfaces of these islands. Two more islands are located farther to the north and the south. These islands are built in a manner similar to the island in the first water garden.

The third garden is situated on a higher level than the other two. It contains a large, octagonal pool with a raised podium on its northeast corner. The large brick and stone wall of the citadel is on the eastern edge of this garden.

The water gardens are built symmetrically on an east-west axis. They are connected with the outer moat on the west and the large artificial lake to the south of the Sigiriya rock. All the pools are also interlinked using an underground conduit network fed by the lake, and connected to the moats. A miniature water garden is located to the west of the first water garden, consisting of several small pools and watercourses. This recently discovered smaller garden appears to have been built after the Kashyapan period, possibly between the 10th and 13th centuries.

The boulder gardens consist of several large boulders linked by winding pathways. The gardens extend from the northern slopes to the southern slopes of the hills at the foot of Sigiris rock. Most of these boulders had a building or pavilion upon them there are cuttings that were used as footings for brick walls and beams.They were used to be pushed off from the top to attack enemies when they approached.

The terraced gardens are formed from the natural hill at the base of the Sigiriya rock. A series of terraces rises from the pathways of the boulder garden to the staircases on the rock. These have been created by the construction of brick walls, and are located in a roughly concentric plan around the rock. The path through the terraced gardens is formed by a limestone staircase. From this staircase, there is a covered path on the side of the rock, leading to the uppermost terrace where the lion staircase is situated.

Sigiriya - The Lion Rock

The 8 th wonder of the world soaring 600 feet,was originally built to resemble a mountainous lion. A pair of enormous lion paws rest gallantly in remembrance of its former glory.The final ascent of the rock lies between these two paws, where a stair way leads up the lion’s throat.This fortified rock city built in the 5 th century depicts remarkable architecture, design and engineering for its time.Sigiriya is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

King Kashyapa sought protection from his avenging brother after committing patricide by walling up his father alive. Fearing his brothers’ return from exile to claim the throne, he moved the capital city to Sigirya where the magnificent rock palace was constructed. King Kashyapa reigned from 477-495 AD. He committed suicide on the battlefield as he was deserted by his troops upon encountering his brother. Even though he reigned for short time of 18 years the legacy he left behind has lasted centuries.

Royal Gardens: The landscaped gardens consist of water gardens, boulder gardens and terraced gardens. These well preserved gardens is a combination of the hanging gardens of Babylon, the boulder gardens of China or Japan and the water gardens of ancient Rome. The terraced garden flows down to the boulder garden and then lands on the western, precinct with the water gardens are laid out geometrically. Fountains, pools ponds, running water, aquatic flowers and birds, tropical trees that paint this area must have been a calming retreat. The Audience Hall Rock, Cistern Rock, Cobra HoodCave and Preaching Rock found in the boulder gardens are fascinating rock carvings on a split rock boulder.

Frescoes “The Sigiriya Damsels” : The glamorous paintings of the sensuous damsels depicting feminine beauty are one of the major attractions of this rock summit. Probably the only non-religious paintings in Sri Lanka, these 5 th century artworks are similar in style to the rock paintings of Ajantha in India. Only twenty two of the 500 hundred paintings remain today.

Mirror Wall &Graffitti : Beyond the frescoes there is the glorified mirror wall. Believed to be polished with lime, egg whites and wild honey, this durable glaze reflects like glass even after thousands of years. This smooth glaze bears the irresistible remarks by visitors of nearly 6 centuries, who felt compelled to voice out their impressions of the lovely frescoes above them. This being Sri Lanka’s oldest graffiti, nearly 700 verses have been published.

Summit : Climbing through the lions jaws emerges a 3 acre area of a palace top. Remaining foundation and ground plan suggest the existence of a unique and grand palace, much different to those found in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. The magnificent panoramic view is breathtaking and well worth the steep climb through the jaws of the lion. The large rock cut pool which looks like a modern swimming pool may have been used for water storage. The Kings stone throne believed to be the smooth slab of flat stone is placed facing the rising sun.

The Ancient City of Sigiriya

The history of the ancient city of Sigiriya can be traced back to ancient times, 7,000 years ago. From the 3rd century BC, it was a mountain monastery with elaborate caves donated by Buddhist converts. From 477 - 495, the monasteries built city gardens and palaces, and they were the living quarters of monks until the 14th century. It is 3 kilometers long from east to west and 1 kilometer wide from north to south, revealing the great and exquisite urban planning of Sri Lanka in the 5th century. A moat runs through the entrance to the western part of the city, in line with the mountains in the distance.

The city gate is made of wood and stone, with a tiled roof. The southern half of the city's garden has been unearthed, while the northern half of the same structure remains to be excavated by archaeologists today. The symmetrical layout of the water park in the west of the city, it demonstrates the most sophisticated hydraulic technology in the world since ancient times. It not only meets the needs of home gardening and agricultural production, but also has unique features in surface drainage, corrosion prevention, decorative and recreational watercourses, protection facilities and system cooling.

A small water park in the inner wall of the west side consists of waterside pavilions, ponds, reservoirs, courtyards, fountains and waterways. The clear water flows slowly on the cobblestone or marble, which is not only a practical refrigeration facility, but also brings people beautiful audio-visual enjoyment. Visitors only have to stop for a moment to notice the river.

The largest water park contains an island surrounded by water and connected to the main city by water. The history of the park is more than five centuries longer than that of Angkor, the ancient capital of Cambodia, or the gardens of India's Mughal Empire. On the central island stood a huge pavilion The water in the four L-shaped ponds is piped at different depths to control different water levels.

There is a large swimming pool in the pond to the southwest, and you can pick up steps in a tunnel made of wood. In the middle of another, smaller pond stood a rock on which stood a small brick pavilion. The fountain park looks very long and narrow, with a meandering stream that murmurs until it disappears into two deep ponds in the western half. The fountain is built on the stream and gushes all year round. On the other side of the fountain are four large north-south islands that cut off the central axis of the water park.

The stone forest park, which is higher than the water park known as the beautiful, is a completely different architectural style. It incorporates many asymmetrical concepts, such as curved paths and uncarved boulders. Almost every rock in Shilin Park has a brick or wood structure, and large reservoirs of granite are in the park. A number of miniature terra-cotta statues have recently been unearthed in the ancient city of Sigiriya. They are exquisite artifacts that imitate the paintings on the stone walls of Sigiriya. They were intended to be sold as a souvenir to visitors to the city, and some of them are now on display at the Sigiriya Museum.

Must Do

NSW has a wide range of wonderful swimming options including beaches, ocean pools, harbourside pools, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes at the bottom of waterfalls. However to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment, swimmers should follow this general advice:

Look for patrolled beaches (this is where lifesavers are on duty you will see red and yellow flags that indicate this). You should always swim between the red and yellow flags as they mark the safest place to swim.

Never swim alone at night, or under the influence of alcohol, or directly after a meal.

Always check water depth, as rocks or trees could be submerged, and never run and dive into the water from a beach, riverbank or other surface.

Check for signs regarding advice on water conditions at your chosen swimming spot and at any natural swimming hole. Always proceed with caution as surfaces could be slippery and water conditions may not be immediately apparent particularly if the area has recently experienced heavy rain or flooding.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming.

Watch the video: Sigiriya, Lions Rock u0026 The Granite Pool (January 2022).