Sigiriya, Sri Lanka: The Eighth Wonder of the World

Roaring with history and surrounded by natural beauty, Sigiriya, famously known as the Lion Rock, was constructed in the 5th century by the visionary King Kashyapa – Photo: Michael Swigunski | Pexels

Have you marveled at the wonders of the world, from the towering Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt to the majestic Statue of Zeus at Olympia in Greece? If so, it’s time to shift your focus to the eighth wonder of the world – Sigiriya. This incredible rock formation located in Sri Lanka will leave you awe-inspired with its unique architectural features and historical significance.

Sigiriya is an ancient stone fortress and palace complex that showcases incredibly technical stone construction methods and beautiful wall art created by the aboriginal population of Sri Lanka. Within its walls are gardens, pools, water features, and more.

Sigiriya is also known as the Lion Rock because of the large lion statue that used to guard the entrance to the palace – Photo: Андрей Марченко | Pexels

Sri Lankan history states that King Kashyapa designed and oversaw the construction of the fortress. Kashyapa was the firstborn son of King Dhatusena, who was the first king of the royal Moriyan dynasty.

Despite being the eldest son, Kashyapa was not destined to be king because his mother was a concubine of non-royal blood. His younger brother, Moggallana, was to be king instead.

Driven by jealousy, Kashyapa overthrew the king when he got older, causing Mogallana to flee. The king was buried alive in the walls of the prison cell.

Kashyapa was not welcomed by the people of Dhatusena and had to flee himself, seeking refuge at Sigiriya, where he built his palace and hid from his brother.

When Kashyapa eventually died, Sigiriya became a Buddhist monastery and remained as such until the 14th century. 

Sigiriya is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it attracts thousands of visitors from around the world every year.

Those who visit Sigiriya today can learn all about its fascinating history at the Sigiriya Archaeological Museum. They can also choose from numerous activities like rock climbing, which technically involves climbing a massive staircase (a journey that takes several hours to complete) and taking a hot air balloon ride over the rock.

Sigirya is most easily accessible to visitors by bus or train. It is open daily from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm, and tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children. You can buy tickets at the site or online