Sigiriya is a site with a rich history. Its origins can be traced to a rivalry between two brothers. The magnificent rock fortress known as Sigiriya was constructed by King Kashyapa. He built this impressive structure as a defensive measure to protect himself from his brother, King Mogallana.The story of Sigiriya is intertwined with a tragic event. Initially, the rightful heir to the throne was King Mogallana. However, King Kashyapa seized power by force. Fearing his brother’s potential return to claim the throne, King Kashyapa undertook the construction of the rock fortress to fortify his position and prevent any invasion attempts. The name “Sigiriya” denotes a site of great historical and archaeological importance dominated by a colossal rock column that soars nearly 200 meters into the sky. The architectural technology employed in creating this fortress is nothing short of remarkable.
In a turn of events, King Mogallana ultimately defeated King Kashyapa, leading to the destruction of the rock fortress. Following its abandonment, the site was repurposed as a Buddhist monastery, reverting to its peaceful and spiritual roots after the palace’s demise.
Sigiriya’s modern rediscovery can be credited to Europeans who stumbled upon it in 1831. Major Jonathan Forbes, a British army officer traveling from Polonnaruwa, is credited with its rediscovery. Subsequent excavations by historians and archaeologists unveiled the full glory of Sigiriya.
In recognition of its historical and archaeological significance, Sigiriya has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it stands as an iconic cultural landmark in Sri Lanka, attracting visitors from around the world who come to explore its rich history, appreciate its architectural grandeur, and immerse themselves in its breathtaking natural surroundings. The complex history of Sigiriya, from a royal palace to a Buddhist monastery, adds to its allure and mystique.