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The Story of Sigiriya

The Story of Sigiriya

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The Story of Sigiriya is the tale of Kasyapa – a troubled but visionary king who, in the fifth century, murders his father by plastering him up alive into a wall. Tormented by guilt and remorse he abandons his capital and flees deep into the inhospitable forests of central Sri Lanka. There, in an area dominated by a massive black column of rock 600 feet high, he builds himself a new capital. At the center of his new city is the royal citadel, a terrestrial paradise of gardens, pavilions and ponds. He transforms the once foreboding rock to appear like a huge white cloud. Around its circumference he paints beautiful brightly colored frescoes depicting semi-nude nymphs. Then halfway up the rock he constructs a gigantic gatehouse in the shape of a lion giving his lair its name, Sigiriya–Lion Mountain. On its summit he builds himself a gleaming white palace of unparalleled beauty. There, hidden from view, he lives in splendid isolation tormented by guilt and fear. In less than ten years he meets a gruesome death and his masterpiece is soon abandoned, consumed by the forests and quickly forgotten. There it lies hidden for countless generations until rediscovered by an adventurous young British army officer on an elephant hunt. The Story of Sigiriya is a beautifully illustrated book that presents Sigiriya in a fascinating new light. The author is a brilliant storyteller. Using a crisp narrative style he brings this story alive and introduces us to many previously unknown and overlooked facts. He sets the scene over 1,500 years ago when this story unfolded, introduces us to the key characters, and then guides us through the events leading up to the construction, abandonment and rediscovery of what some consider to be the 8th Wonder of the World. He then continues to describe the ruins today using some of the most vivid and never before seen photographs of Sigiriya. This “must read” book tells the real story of Sigiriya.