Visit the Lion Rock of Sri Lanka

Visit the Lion Rock of Sri Lanka

By Kensington Tours

Visit the Lion Rock of Sri Lanka

An ancient rock fortress looms over the lush forests of Sri Lanka. This massive natural formation is a 180-meter-high granite peak that juts out of the jungle with steep, perilous ridges, making it near impossible to reach the summit by anything but a set of stairs trailing along the peak’s edge. This mountain has served as the home to civilizations reaching back over 2,000 years ago. However, the events that surrounded Lion Mountain in the 5th century A.D. are what give this site its fame.

An impenetrable fortress
In 477 A.D., King Kassapa I constructed his capital city on top of the rock peak however, the son of the ruler, named Dhatusena, orchestrated his father’s assassination, thereby inheriting the throne after dispossessing his brother. Fearing his sibling would seek vengeance, Dhatusena took refuge on top of the rock, building a fortified palace on the thought-to-be impregnable mountain. Shortly thereafter, the brother – Moggallana – did confront his sibling, and after a short battle, Dhatusena was killed.

Afterward, Moggallana returned the summit of Lion Mountain to a group of monks that lived on the cliff beforehand, and the palace slowly degraded over time. Now, tourists can still visit the once-great fortress that defended Dhatusena nearly 1,400 years ago. Ruined buildings, cisterns, stone sculptures as well as canals, fountains and gardens can still be found during tours of the ancient Kassapa I capital.

A spectacular view
Perhaps the best part of Lion’s Rock is its beautiful natural environment. From atop the mountain, guests can look out over the vast expanse of thick jungle and rolling plains. Take a closer look at some of the rocky walls of the fortress, and you’ll find ancient paintings still vibrant with color.

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