The World Heritage site of Sigiriya is one of the island’s most awe-inspiring archaeological sites. Part hedonistic pleasure palace, part fortress and part sacred complex with a vast pleasure garden complex at the foot. Sigiriya sits atop a colossal column of rock nearly 200m high. It was a royal citadel for 18 years (477-495AD) when it was fortified by King Kasyapa. Continue with existing text from: The architectural and irrigational……..
In the 12th century AD, the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa was one of the great urban centres in South Asia. This World Heritage site gives an insight into the grandeur of this period and the great artistry of the island’s early craftsmen. It became the island’s second ancient capital after the fall of Anuradhapura. Among its may attractions is the Parakrama Samudra, the largest man-made reservoir in the country, created by King Parakramabahu. Spanning an area of 2,500 hectares it remains a primary source of water for agriculture in the district. At the heart of the ancient city are the remains of Royal Palace and Council Chambers. Nearby is a beautifully decorated circular structure. It is also the site of some ancient Hindu temples.
The Cave Temples of Dambulla
Hewn into a 160m granite outcrop are the remarkable World Heritage cave temples with their masterpiece of Buddhist art. Each of the five cave temples is filled with murals depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life, and gilded statues of the Buddha in various poses. Its history dates back the 1st century BC and the temples continue to be embellished over the years, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries Kandyan period. The largest and most spectacular is Cave 2, the Maharaja Vihara – 50m long, almost 25m deep and 7m high.