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The Ancient Frescoes of the Lion Rock

sigiriya_frescoes

           One of Sri Lanka’s Famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sigiriya is one of the best Examples of well preserved ancient urban planning. While the Lion Rock of Sri Lanka has many Sub attractions in its immediate surroundings like the Gigantic Lion Paws, the Mirror wall, and the Water Gardens; the Sigiriya Frescoes are something very Unique. A Fresco is a technique of mural painting which is only painted on freshly laid wet lime plaster.

           The Sigiriya Frescoes are painted on the western surface of the Lion Rock. This picture gallery of over 500 semi-naked females was a colorful right and can be witnessed from all the vantage points of the Rock. There are many Legends and myths about the origins of the ladies visible in the ancient gallery. It is said that King Kasyapa, the Ruler who created this magnificent world heritage sight wanted Sigiriya to mimic the mythological city of Alakamanda, the city of the gods. This made the king paint the Rock White to make his city look like it was on a cloud. Kasyapu had a falling out with the clergy and religious folk of his court and decided to decorate his rock in a non-religious theme. His brilliant idea was to paint a series of Striking women, who can now still be seen on the mirror wall of Sigiriya.

 

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           There are many theories as to who the painting s portray. Some say that they portray human beings, the queens, and Princesses of King Kasyapa’s court; Some say they were of King Kasyapa’s Concubines. But a very popular belief among many is that the painting s depict celestial beings, semi-divine nymphs known as Apsaras. While there have been instances of vandalism by locals which resulted in the destruction of these ancient paintings, many still retain there vibrancy and glory and is an excellent sight to behold when visiting Sri Lanka.