A series of terraced gardens became realized when archaeologists began excavating the area on top of the rock fortress. Major Jonathan Forbes of the British army – came across the area on horseback in 1831, by then, the summit had long been covered with natural growth. It was not until around 1982, that more extensive research and excavation was done on Sigiriya.
Today, the ancient rock in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka seems as hidden as it always was. A long bumpy, dirt, road leads into the area. From there, a hike and climb is required through several stages to get to the Machu Picchu-esque summit.
The top of the rock used to be covered with structures, but today, only the foundations remain. It can be debated that it was a fortress or monastery but one thing that cannot be argued, it has unbelievable views. While exploring the windy summit, time management was a tough endeavor. I was constantly admiring the misty panorama of distant mountains over the jungle below, at other times, examining the grounds and pool that was most likely used for water storage.
According to ancient stories, the entire complex was built by King Kashyapa in the late 5th century AD, and after the king’s death, it was supposedly used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
If you visit Sri Lanka, this is a must see. It is not the most accessible area but that is what makes it that much more exciting. If there were a paved road that led to a ticket counter and cable car to the top – the luster would be gone.