Mapagala Fortress in Sigiriya (මාපාගල බලකොටුව)

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Seven Hundred fifty meters south of the ancient Sigiriya Lion Rock lies another rocky mountain called Mapagala (rock of the heir-apparent) which may have been used as a fortress even before the time of Sigiriya. Those premises are encircled by a wall of cyclopean proportions, built with big boulders with one fairly level face. This site too had substantial buildings on it, of which only vestiges remain.

Here huge blocks of granite and small boulders are neatly packed. This is considered to be a pre-historic type but in the case of the wall at Sigiriya. Bell thinks ‘They probably date back only to the occupation of Sigiri Nuwara in the 5th century, but for all that are almost as remarkable a proof of the skill and energy of the Ceylon builders of that day, as are the walls of colossal boulders at Sacsahuaman in South America.

The ability to cut such massive blocks of granite to precision suggested that iron-smelting and iron tools were available to construction workers. This is supported by the carving of the stone thrones in the Citadel, one at the foot of the Assembly Hall, and another in the palace on the summit (Premaratne, 1990).

However recent investigations have shown the Mapagala fortifications to be older than the dam of Sigiriya Reservoir and the site itself to have been occupied from a period before the 5th century (Bandaranayake, 1990).

It is possible to climb to the top of Mapagala. However, there is no clear path to the rock or any guide. But if you ask a villager, they would be able to take you to a climbable path to the rock.

References

  1. Premaratne, H.R. (1990) ‘Materials And Techniques Of Buildings In Sri Lanka’, ANCIENT CEYLON Journal of the Archaeological Survey Department of Sri Lanka, 2(7), p. 157.
  2. Bandaranayake, S. (1990) ‘Architecture Of The Anuradhapura Period 543 B.C. – 800 A.D.’, in Archaeological Department Centenary (1890 – 1990) Commemorative Series -Volume Three – Architecture. Colombo , Sri Lanka: Department of Archaeology, pp. 1–34.

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Map of  Mapagala Fortress at Sigiriya

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Travel Directions to Mapagala Fortress at Sigiriya

Route from Colombo to Mapagala Fortress at Sigiriya Route from Inamaluwa to Mapagala Fortress at Sigiriya
Through : Kalaniya – Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Dambulla – Inamaluwa
Distance : 174
Travel time : 4 hours
Driving directions : see on Google map
Distance : 9 km
Travel time :15 minutes
Driving directions : see on Google map

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