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Hotels of Sigiriya

A hotel in Sigiriya is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Sigiriya hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Sigiriya are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Sigiriya hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Sigiriya hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Sigiriya have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Sigiriya
An upscale full service hotel facility in Sigiriya that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Sigiriya hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Sigiriya
Full service Sigiriya hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Sigiriya
Boutique hotels of Sigiriya are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Sigiriya boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Sigiriya may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Sigiriya
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Sigiriya travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Sigiriya focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Sigiriya
Small to medium-sized Sigiriya hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Sigiriya traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Sigiriya hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Sigiriya
A bed and breakfast in Sigiriya is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Sigiriya bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Sigiriya B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Sigiriya
Sigiriya hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Sigiriya hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Sigiriya
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Sigiriya hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Sigiriya lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Sigiriya
Sigiriya timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Sigiriya often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Sigiriya on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Sigiriya
A Sigiriya motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Sigiriya for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Sigiriya motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Sigiriya

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Sigiriya
Sigiriya.jpg
Sigiriya Rock from the main public entrance
Location Central Province, Sri Lanka
Coordinates  / 7.95694; 80.75972  / 7.95694; 80.75972
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Official name: Ancient City of Sigiriya
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Designated 1982 (6th session)
Reference no. 202
UNESCO Region Asia-Pacific
Sigiriya is located in Sri Lanka
Sigiriya
Location of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri (Lion Rock Sinhalese: සීගිරිය, Tamil: சிகிரியா, pronounced see-gi-ri-yə) is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure -Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.

Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.

Sigiriya: History

The environment around the Sigiriya may have been inhabited since prehistoric times. There is clear evidence that the many rock shelters and caves in the vicinity were occupied by Buddhist monks and ascetics from as early as the 3rd century BCE. The earliest evidence of human habitation at Sigiriya is the Aligala rock shelter to the east of Sigiriya rock, indicating that the area was occupied nearly five thousand years ago during the Mesolithic Period.

Buddhist monastic settlements were established during the 3rd century BCE in the western and northern slopes of the boulder-strewn hills surrounding the Sigiriya rock. Several rock shelters or caves were created during this period. These shelters were made under large boulders, with carved drip ledges around the cave mouths. Rock inscriptions are carved near the drip ledges on many of the shelters, recording the donation of the shelters to the Buddhist monastic order as residences. These were made in the period between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st century CE.

In 477 CE, Kashyapa, the king’s son by a non-royal consort, seized the throne from King Dathusena, following a coup assisted by Migara, the King’s nephew and army commander. The rightful heir, Moggallana, fearing for his life, fled to South India. Afraid of an attack by Moggallana, Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya. During King Kashyapa’s reign (477 to 495 CE), Sigiriya was developed into a complex city and fortress. Most of the elaborate constructions on the rock summit and around it, including defensive structures, palaces, and gardens, date from this period.

The Culavamsa describes King Kashyapa as the son of King Dhatusena. Kashyapa murdered his father by walling him up alive and then usurping the throne which rightfully belonged to his brother Moggallana, Dhatusena's son by the true queen. Moggallana fled to India to escape being assassinated by Kashyapa, but vowed revenge. In India he raised an army with the intention of returning and retaking the throne of Sri Lanka, which he considered to be rightfully his. Expecting the inevitable return of Moggallana, Kashyapa is said to have built his palace on the summit of Sigiriya as a fortress and pleasure palace. Moggallana finally arrived, declared war, and defeated Kashyapa in 495 CE. During the battle Kashyapa's armies abandoned him and he committed suicide by falling on his sword.

The Culavamsa and folklore inform us that the battle-elephant on which Kashyapa was mounted changed course to take a strategic advantage, but the army misinterpreted the movement as the king's having opted to retreat, prompting the army to abandon him altogether. It is said that being too proud to surrender he took his dagger from his waistband, cut his throat, raised the dagger proudly, sheathed it, and fell dead. Moggallana returned the capital to Anuradapura, converting Sigiriya into a Buddhist monastery complex, which survived until the 13th or 14th century. After this period, no records are found on Sigiriya until the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was used briefly as an outpost of the Kingdom of Kandy.

Alternative stories have the primary builder of Sigiriya as King Dhatusena, with Kashyapa finishing the work in honour of his father. Still other stories describe Kashyapa as a playboy king, with Sigiriya his pleasure palace. Even Kashyapa's eventual fate is uncertain. In some versions he is assassinated by poison administered by a concubine; in others he cuts his own throat when deserted in his final battle. Still further interpretations regard the site as the work of a Buddhist community, without a military function. This site may have been important in the competition between the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions in ancient Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya: Archaeological remains and features

The Lion Gate and Climbing Stretch

In 1831 Major Jonathan Forbes of the 78th Highlanders of the British army, while returning on horseback from a trip to Pollonnuruwa, encountered the "bush covered summit of Sigiriya". Sigiriya came to the attention of antiquarians and, later, archaeologists. Archaeological work at Sigiriya began on a small scale in the 1890s. H.C.P. Bell was the first archaeologist to conduct extensive research on Sigiriya. The Cultural Triangle Project, launched by the Government of Sri Lanka, focused its attention on Sigiriya in 1982. Archaeological work began on the entire city for the first time under this project. There was a sculpted lion's head above the legs and paws flanking the entrance, but the head collapsed years ago.

Sigiriya consists of an ancient citadel built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century. The Sigiriya site contains the ruins of an upper palace located on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes, the lower palaces located behind the lavish lower gardens, and moats and ramparts which protected the citadel. The site was both a palace and a fortress. The upper palace on the top of the rock includes cisterns cut into the rock. The moats and walls that surround the lower palace are exquisitely beautiful.

Close up of the Lion's Paw

Sigiriya: Site plan

Sigiriya is considered to be one of the most important urban planning sites of the first millennium, and the site plan is considered very elaborate and imaginative. The plan combined concepts of symmetry and asymmetry to intentionally interlock the man-made geometrical and natural forms of the surroundings. On the west side of the rock lies a park for the royals, laid out on a symmetrical plan; the park contains water-retaining structures, including sophisticated surface/subsurface hydraulic systems, some of which are working today. The south contains a man-made reservoir; these were extensively used from the previous capital of the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Five gates were placed at entrances. The more elaborate western gate is thought to have been reserved for the royals.

Sigiriya: Frescoes

John Still in 1907 suggested, "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, an area 140 metres long and 40 metres high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, most have been lost forever. More frescoes, different from those on the rock face, can be seen elsewhere, for example on the ceiling of the location called the "Cobra Hood Cave".

Although the frescoes are classified as in the Anuradhapura period, the painting style is considered unique; the line and style of application of the paintings differing from Anuradhapura paintings. The lines are painted in a form which enhances the sense of volume of the figures. The paint has been applied in sweeping strokes, using more pressure on one side, giving the effect of a deeper colour tone towards the edge. Other paintings of the Anuradhapura period contain similar approaches to painting, but do not have the sketchy lines of the Sigiriya style, having a distinct artists' boundary line. The true identity of the ladies in these paintings still have not been confirmed. There are various ideas about their identity. Some believe that they are the ladies of the king's while others think that they are women taking part in religious observances. These pictures have a close resemblance to paintings seen in the Ajanta caves in India.

Sigiriya: The Mirror Wall

The Mirror Wall and spiral stairs leading to the frescoes

Originally this wall was so highly polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it. Made of brick masonry and covered in highly polished white plaster, the wall is now partially covered with verses scribbled by visitors, some of them dating from as early as the 8th century. People of all types wrote on the wall, on varying subjects such as love, irony, and experiences of all sorts. Further writing on the mirror wall now has been banned for the protection of the old writings.

The Sri Lankan archaeologist Dr Senerat Paranavitana deciphered 685 verses written in the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries CE on the mirror wall. One such poem from these long-past centuries, roughly translated from Sinhala, is:

"I am Budal [the writer's name]. Came with hundreds of people tо see Sigiriya. Since аll the others wrote poems, I did not!"

Sigiriya: The Gardens

The Gardens of the Sigiriya city are one of the most important aspects of the site, as it is among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. The gardens are divided into three distinct but linked forms: water gardens, cave and boulder gardens, and terraced gardens.

Sigiriya: The Water Gardens

A pool in the garden complex

The water gardens can be seen in the central section of the western precinct. Three principal gardens are found here. The first garden consists of a plot surrounded by water. It is connected to the main precinct using four causeways, with gateways placed at the head of each causeway. This garden is built according to an ancient garden form known as char bagh, and is one of the oldest surviving models of this form.

The second contains two long, deep pools set on either side of the path. Two shallow, serpentine streams lead to these pools. Fountains made of circular limestone plates are placed here. Underground water conduits supply water to these fountains which are still functional, especially during the rainy season. Two large islands are located on either side of the second water garden. Summer palaces are built on the flattened surfaces of these islands. Two more islands are located farther to the north and the south. These islands are built in a manner similar to the island in the first water garden.

The gardens of Sigiriya, as seen from the summit of the Sigiriya rock

The third garden is situated on a higher level than the other two. It contains a large, octagonal pool with a raised podium on its northeast corner. The large brick and stone wall of the citadel is on the eastern edge of this garden.

The water gardens are built symmetrically on an east-west axis. They are connected with the outer moat on the west and the large artificial lake to the south of the Sigiriya rock. All the pools are also interlinked using an underground conduit network fed by the lake, and connected to the moats. A miniature water garden is located to the west of the first water garden, consisting of several small pools and watercourses. This recently discovered smaller garden appears to have been built after the Kashyapan period, possibly between the 10th and 13th centuries.

Sigiriya: The Boulder Gardens

The boulder gardens consist of several large boulders linked by winding pathways. The gardens extend from the northern slopes to the southern slopes of the hills at the foot of Sigiris rock. Most of these boulders had a building or pavilion upon them; there are cuttings that were used as footings for brick walls and beams.They were used to be pushed off from the top to attack enemies when they approached.

Sigiriya: The Terraced Gardens

The terraced gardens are formed from the natural hill at the base of the Sigiriya rock. A series of terraces rises from the pathways of the boulder garden to the staircases on the rock. These have been created by the construction of brick walls, and are located in a roughly concentric plan around the rock. The path through the terraced gardens is formed by a limestone staircase. From this staircase, there is a covered path on the side of the rock, leading to the uppermost terrace where the lion staircase is situated.

Sigiriya: Other

  • The video for the 1982 single Save a Prayer by Duran Duran was filmed primarily at Sigiriya.
  • Sigiriya is used as the location of many of the events in the science-fiction novel The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke, although Clarke changed the name to Yakkagala ("Demon Rock") in the book.

Sigiriya: See also

  • Mapagala fortress

Sigiriya: References

  1. Ponnamperuma, Senani (2013). The Story of Sigiriya. Panique Pty Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9873451-1-0.
  2. Bandaranayake, Senake; Aramudala, Madhyama Saṃskr̥tika (2005). Sigiriya: City, Palace, Gardens, Monasteries, Painting. Central Cultural Fund. ISBN 978-955-631-146-4.
  3. Geiger, Wilhelm. Culavamsa Being The More Recent Part Of Mahavamsa 2 Vols, Ch 39. 1929
  4. "The Sigiriya Story". Asian Tribune. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  5. Forbes, Jonathan. Eleven Years in Ceylon. London: Richard Benley, 1841.
  6. "Sigiriya – The fortress in the sky". Sunday Observer. Retrieved 2004-10-10.
  7. "Sigiriya: the most spectacular site in South Asia". Sunday Observer. Retrieved 2006-08-03.
  8. Senake Bandaranayake and Madhyama Saṃskr̥tika Aramudala. Sigriya. 2005, page 38
  9. "Sigiriya Frescoes, Sri Lanka". Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  10. "Sigiriya Mirror Wall, Sri Lanka". Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  11. S. Paranavitana, Sigiri Graffiti. Being Sinhalese verses of the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries, 2 vols. London: Oxford University Press, for the Archaeological Survey, Ceylon, 1956.
  12. Mirror Wall Translation
  13. Ponnamperuma, Senani. "About Sigiriya or Simhagiri". The Story of Sigiriya. Panique Pty Ltd. Retrieved 9 March 2013.

Sigiriya: Further reading

  • Sigiriya travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Official UNESCO website entry
  • Mount of Remembrance
  • About Sigiriya
Source of information: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. We're not responsible for the content of this article and your use of this information. Disclaimer
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