The town is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is a popular stop for tourists interested in its archeological ruins. Essentially, the town has but one main attraction. This is the fortress, inclusive of various gardens and palaces built in the 5th century AD by King Kasyap. As the story goes, after a failed attempt to murder and usurp his father, the reigning king, Kasyap fled to Sigiriya and had this fortress built to fend off future invasions, including possible revenge by his own father.
Today, even though the entire fortress is in ruins, it is the only major attraction that the town of Sigiriya boasts of. However, the area in which the ruins are set is very picturesque and the climb up to the summit brings many pleasant surprises for the trekker.
Also being declared a World Heritage Site has helped put the place on the tourist map. The Moat around the fortress is the first thing that you will hit on your visit to the fortress. The remains of the ancient water body are visible in places.
In the water garden water is collected in four L-shaped pools. King Kasyap was very fond of water and its presence in the gardens in the form of fountains and pools is very evident. These pools are connected by underground water conduits to provide different water levels in the garden. There are also bathing pools, one of them complete with a diving area cut into a rock above. Further in beyond the octagonal pool, on a higher level, is the boulder garden. Here buildings must once have stood, but today only the winding boulder paths and huge stones lie around in asymmetric patterns. The cistern rock is the biggest attraction here.
The entrance to the inner citadel is through what’s known as the Lion Rock. This was a sphinx -like structure where people would have to enter the jaws of the lion to enter the city within. Unfortunately the rock has crumbled and all that’s left are the huge paws of the lion sculpture.