About 3 acres in area, every square foot was utilized. Bathing pools were cut out of living rock and every drop of (rain) water was used and re-used. Sigiriya (lion's throat) was so named because the visitors had to go through the throat of a lion to get to the top of the rock. Today Sigiriya is a bustling tourist mecca with world class hotels for the weary traveller. Sigiriya (Lion Rock ) is an ancient palace located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this 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 - Sihagiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. It is the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka.
Isurumuniya temple, in Anuradhapura, built in the 3rd century B.C. is noted for its rock carvings. The best known among these is the "Lovers". Many a poet and song writer has taken inspiration from this carving to write their masterpieces. It is believed that the carving may represent Saliya, and the low-caste maiden whom he loved. Saliya was the son of the great king Dutugamunu.
A guard stone at Thuparama, in Anuradhapura. North of the famous Ruwanveli Seya, Thuparama is considered to be the oldest dagoba in Sri Lanka and is believed to enshrine the collar bone relic of Lord Buddha. The guard stones like these are generally found in pairs at the entrance to temples, palaces and other revered sites.