What images does the name Sri Lanka conjure up? Possibly lush tea plantations, and palm-fringed beaches, but the landmark that most piqued your imagination was the imposing rock fortress of Sigiriya.
Lost in scrub jungle and not rediscovered until the mid nineteenth century, Sigiriya is actually the ruins of a cloud-hugging palace built on the summit of a massive rock in the fifth century AD by King Kassapa who, having killed his own father, needed a safe hiding place. The 200 metre high granite rock would have seemed like an ideal choice.
The name Sigiriya means 'the lion�s rock' and originally the entrance was guarded by a gigantic stone lion who would have sat here as if emerging from his den.
All that remains now are his colossal paws, and you can now only imagine what an awesome sight the lion in his entirety would have been.
From the summit you can admire the magnificent view, and see the fields where Kassapa came to a sticky end. He decided to do battle with his half brother Moggallana, but having been abandoned by his army, beheaded himself, so as to avoid being captured alive.
Along with a rather gruesome history, which is perhaps as much legend as fact, King Kassapa has left a striking and unforgettable legacy in this spectacular mountain top citadel.
See our other report from Sri Lanka.