Sigiriya (Lion Rock) is located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla of the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a historical and archaeological site dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle, the Culavamsa, the 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 were abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
Climbing to the top of the rock is made possible by narrow steel walkways that are not for the faint-hearted.