Sigiriya also known as the Lions Rock is a rock fortress and a palace located in the Matale district of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese king Kashyapa (reigned 477–495) built a palace in the shape of a monumental lion on the several acres of ground at the summit, intending it to be a safeguard against his enemies. However, the king was defeated in 495, and the palace fell into ruin.
Sigiriya is the best preserved city centre in Asia. Standing at over 200 meters tall this rock is stunning to look at from afar while climbing atop it is an exhilarating experience. You have to climb up the rock through the lion’s mouth to reach the top. There are steps built that you can use to climb up and it is not so difficult although little tiring. Lion’s paws carved in the bedrock, mirror wall and the frescoes of about 500 beautiful ladies are remarkable that they are highly preserved. When you get to the top, the 360 degree view is magnificant and completes one of the most special experiences in Sri Lanka.
The site soon became a pilgrimage destination, however, and it is now a popular tourist spot. Visitors begin the final ascent to the top through the open paws of the lion, one of the few remaining portions of the palace that are still intact. Sigiriya was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.