Sigiriya Rock Fortress of Sri Lanka is situated in Matale district near Dambulla. It can be reached along Colombo-Habarana highway by turning towards east from Inamaluwa. Proceeding about 10 km from Inamaluwa and passing Kimbissa township one arrives at Sigiriya.
Before Sigiriya became a Kingdom, Sigiriya Rock base and the places such as Pidurangala which were endowed with many caves and a temple had been dwelled by Buddhist monks from around 3rd Century BC. It is also found that these areas had been inhabited by people prior to King Kassapa’s rein. Many caves have Brahmi Inscriptions dating back from 3rd Century BC to 1st century AD.
After King Mahanama who ruled Anuradhapura from 410-432 AD, a prince named Dhatusena became the King of Anuradhapura in 459 AD, defeating the Indian invader ‘Pandu’. King Dhatusena was the ruler who constructed Kala Wewa or the Kala Wewa Tank, by building a dam across Kala Oya, which is a small river type. The man-made 54 mile long Yoda Ela, which takes water from Kala Wewa to Tissa Wewa is considered as an Irrigation engineering wonder even at the present day. It has a gradient of 6 inches per mile along the first 17 miles, which means the level difference is just over 8 feet even after the first 17 miles along the canal. During his rein the famous full-relief Aukana Buddha statue was constructed out of a rock which stands 42 feet high.
He had two sons from two of his queens. Mugalan [also called as Moggallana] from the head queen and Kassapa’s [also called as Kashyapa] from a companion queen. Prince Kashyapa, with the help of the general of the army of King Dhatusena, named Migara, got his father killed and became the King. Prince Mugalan, fearing for his life, escaped to India. The Buddhist Bhikkus and the people were against his conduct and favoured Prince Mugalan for the rulership. Fearing that Mugalan will come with an army from India to avenge him at a later day, King Kassapa decided to make Sigiriya as his kingdom. During his rule of eighteen years from 477 AD to 495 AD Sigiriya Kingdom was created. It is believed that he sought the refuge of Sigiriya rock for his safety fearing for his life.
After 18 years, Prince Mugalan came with an army from India to fight with King Kassapa. During the battle Kassapa killed himself thus Mugalan became the King. He went back to Anuradhapura and ruled the country from there and handed over Sigiriya back to the Buddhist priests. Sigiriya as a Kingdom was abandoned in around 1150 AD and was almost forgotten for the next seven centuries Though King Kashyapa is not regarded in high esteem in Sri Lankan history due to his dubious conduct, he is credited as the ruler with unsurpassed imagination put into reality to create a Sri Lankan style marvel of high calibee art and engineering skills that could even challenge the other world structures at that time, which definitely is amazing even in the 21st century with whatever is remaining as ruins of Sigiriya Kingdom.
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