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Rock Fortress of Sigiriya
Sigiriya - The Rock Fortress
The remains of Sigiriya constructed by King Kasapa I (437-491 AD) whom the Mahavansa introduces as a pricide, lie five miles off Inamaluwa on the Dambulla-Habarana Road. On the west of the rock are ponds, the remains of summer palaces and other structures, and the first part of the ancient road, which led to the summit. Ramparts had girded the areas of land to the east and to the west of the rock. In the past the entire western face of the rock had been covered with plaster and painted upon, but only those paintings in two sheltered pockets now survive. The last lap of the ancient path to the summit had been through the mouth of a lion, but at present only parts of the lion's legs and some of the lime stone steps from inside the lion's mouth survive.
Royal Botanical Gardens
About 64 km (4 miles) southwest of the town center at Peradeniya on the Colombo highway, close to the banks of the Mahaweli Ganga, these gorgeous gardens were first planted and laid out for King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha (1747 – 1780) and cover some 60 ha (150 acres) of trees, lawns and flowering shrubs, including a 20 ha (50 acre) arboretum of more than 10,000 trees. Under British rule, the royal park became a botanical garden in 1821 and is the largest of Sri Lanka’s three main botanical gardens. Here exotic crops such as coffee, tea, nutmeg, rubber and cinchona (quinine) – all of which later became important to Sri Lanka’s economy – were tested. Sights include a palm avenue planted by the British in 1905. Another British import was the enormous spreading Java fig, which sprawls across the lawn, grown from a sapling brought from East Indies.