PHOTO: ThoiryK 757'24.25" 8045'35.77"

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Sigiriya Lion's rock) is an ancient rock fortress and castle/palace ruin situated in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. It is a popular tourist destination, also known for its ancient paintings (frescos) very similar to those in the Ajanta Caves of India. The Sigiraya was built during the reign of King Kassapa I (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by King Kasyapa. Following King Kasyapa's death, it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered in 1907 by British explorer John Still. The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by the archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana who published a renowned two volume work, published by Oxford, known as "Sigiri Graffiti". He also wrote the popular book "Story of Sigiriya".