At an altitude of 200 meters, on the top of a massive column of rock lie the magnificent ancient ruins of a temple reaching for the stars.

Located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambullain in Sri Lanka lie the enigmatic ruins of an ancient rock fortress. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that is said to house the ruins of an ancient civilization, thought to be once the epicenter of the short-lived kingdom of Kassapa.

Amilia Tennakoon / CC By 2.0

According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, it is believed to have been built by King Kasyapa, between 477 – 495 CE.

Erected on the massive rock, the temple and its surroundings were meticulously decorated with colorful frescoes in the distant past.

The history of the temple and the times that predate it are surrounded by rich history and magnificent ancient legends.


Said to be the Alakamandava, or the City of the Gods built up before 50 centuries ago by King Kubera who was the half-brother of Ravana (Ravan) as described in the Ramayanaya, Lal Sirinivas and Mirando Obesekara described Sigiriya as a post-historical archeology turning point of Ravana.

A stunning view of the Lion’s Rock. Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Despite having a rich history dating back to around 495 CE, researchers have found evidence of human occupation nearly five thousand years ago during the Mesolithic Period.

Today’s tourists are welcomed by enormous lion paws about halfway up the side of this rock. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock.


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