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Sigiriya: The tourist destination in Sri Lanka that gives the feel of a planned ancient city and is also UNESCO's World Heritage Site
"To learn about planned and landscaped ancient city in Sri Lanka, a visit to archaeological site Sigiriya is a must. It is an experience worth it," inform my kin on the last leg of their two-week visit to Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka, the spiritual city Kandy and surrounding areas are the most popular tourist destinations because of the holy Buddhist shrines, waterfalls, lakes, tea gardens, archaeological sites and spots with Ramayana connections, they inform.

It is told that in this area, Sigiriya - an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla - is visited by many tourists who believe in educative tourism. The site has a great historical and archaeological significance.

The structures here are indicative of the ancient urban planning. Moreover, the place is also related to King Ravana's period in the scriptures. Besides lush green vegetation, one can see monkeys around this area.

The site has a massive column of rock about 200 metres in height and fortress which worked as the capital of King Kasyapa during the ancient period. The king had also built a palace on the top of this rock and decorated its walls with colourful frescoes.

The gateway to the palace was built in the form of a huge lion statue, that's why the place is also known as Sinhagiri. However, after the death the king, the palace was abandoned and it turned into ruins. Even the gate fell down over the time.

When the archaeological work began on the entire city for the first time in last century, the sculpted lion's head above the legs and paws flanking the entrance were restored. Unfortunately, head of the lion statue collapsed after some time.

Thereafter, the Buddhists monks started living at tSigiriya: The tourist destination in Sri Lanka that gives the feel of a planned ancient city and is also UNESCO's World Heritage Site his place and the remains of the rock shelter type structures functioned as a monastery which too was abandoned since the monks shifted to better built monasteries.

With restoration in the last century, Sigiriya has acquired the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and become a tourist attraction to be visited as one the most preserved examples of ancient urban planning in scenic hill setting.

The place has a few wall paintings which are being preserved. The carved inscriptions can also be seen in many rock shelters. On the upper palace, on the top of the rock, one can find cisterns cut into the rock.

There is a mirror wall and spiral stairs leading to the frescoes and wall painting. Some of white plaster areas have been spoiled by visitors by scribbling as love notes. But, this thing has been banned.

The gardens of the ancient Sigiriya city, deemed to be the oldest in the world, are in three forms, namely, water gardens, boulder gardens, and terraced gardens. One can wonder that even in the olden times landscaped garden existed in Sri Lanka. For serious tourists who link tourism with learning, it is worth visiting place, tell my kin.

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