Sigiriya should have been named one of the Wonders of the World, long ago, and now there is a proposal to name it as the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient world. Better late than never!.Sri Lankan architectural tradition is well displayed at Sigiriya, the best preserved city center in Asia from the first millennium, with its combination of buildings and gardens with their trees, pathways, water gardens, the fusion of symmetrical and asymmetrical elements, use of varying levels and of axial and radial planning.The Complex consists of the central rock, rising 200 meters above the surrounding plain, and the two rectangular precincts on the east (90 hectares) and the west (40 hectares), surrounded by two moats and three ramparts.
The most significant feature of the Rock would have been the Lion staircase leading to the palace garden on the summit. Based on the ideas described in some of the graffiti, this Lion staircase could be visualised as a gigantic figure towering majestically against the granite cliff, facing north, bright coloured, and awe-inspiring.Through the open mouth of the Lion had led the covered staircase built of bricks and timber and a tiled roof. All that remains now are the two colossal paws and a mass of brick masonry that surround the ancient limestone steps and the cuts and groves on the rock face give an idea of the size and shape of the lion figure.
The Sigiriya Damsels Frescoes -Truly the highlight of a visit to Sigiriya, the Sigiriya Frescoes are amazing in color, quality and beauty. This was our favorite part of our climb up Sigiriya Rock.John Still in 1907 had observed that; “The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery… the largest picture in the world perhaps”.The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, covering an area 140 meters long and 40 meters high. There are references in the Graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings.
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 visualized 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 causeways. 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.