Sigiriya ( N7 57 00 E80 45 00 ) #202 on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is one of six sites of Cultural Triangle Project (CTP) of Sri Lanka
International Council on Monuments and Sites in it's 1981
In the heart of Lanka, the extraordinary site of Sigiriya - a lofty rock of reddish gneiss dominating, from a height of nearly 150 meters, the neighboring plateau -has been inhabited since the 3rd century B.C., as attested to by the graffiti which proliferate in the grottoes and the shelters of the Buddhist monks. Yet, the fame of the "Lion Mountain" is due to one simple factor -during a short period In the 5th century a.d., a sovereign established his capital there. The king Kassapa I (477-495), son of Datusena, only came to power after he had engineered the assassination of his father and had, momentarily, dispossessed his brother. Justly fearing the vengeance of the latter, Kassapa had a fortified palace built on the rock of Siglrrya which was reputed to be impregnable. However, it was there that he was defeated after a a short but cruel battle in 495, following which he cut his throat. After the death of Kassapa, Moggallana returned the site of Sigiriya to the monks, thus condemning It to progressive abandon.
During the eleven years that Kassapa resided in Sigiriya, he created a residence of exceptional splendor and founded his capital there impressive vestiges of which are still extant* At the summit of the rock is the fortified palace with its ruined buildings, its cisterns and its rock sculptures. At the foot of the rock, are the two quarters of the lower city which are defended by a massive wall: the eastern quarter perhaps postdating the 5th century, which has not been sufficiently excavated, and the aristocratic quarter of the capital of Kassapa I noteworthy for its terraced gardens embellished by canals and fountains, as well as for numerous monumental remains which have recently been disengaged from the forest which had invaded the ruins.
Halfway up the rock, within an inaccessible rocky shelter in the vertical wall of the western facer are rock paintings which have brought universal acclaim to the site of Sigiriya - The Maidens of the Clouds", 21 non-identified feminine figures, comparable to the most beautiful creations of Ajanta.
ICOMOS bases its recommendation for the inscription of Sigiriya on the
List on several criteria.
In terms of criterion III, this cultural property is a unique witness to the civilization of Ceylon during the reign of Kassapa I, Criterion VI may be involved as well to the extent that an exceptional and significant historical event was the determining factor in the creation of the ephemeral capital.
Criterion II, however, offers the best justification for the request for inscription introduced by Sri Lanka, On the one hand, the frescoes of Sigiriya inaugurated a pictorial style which endured over many centuries, On the other, the site of "Lion Mountain" was visited from the 6th century A.D. by passionate admirers. The poems inscribed on the rock by certain of these admirers. and known by the name "Sigiri graffiti" are among the most ancient texts in the Sinhala language, and thus show the considerable influence exerted by the abandoned city of Kassapa I on both literature and thought.
For a beautiful interactive spherical panoramic views of the grove of apsaras paintings look at images which is one of which is one of 7 images for Ancient city of Sigiriya Heritage site.
The medal which is one of a set of six were minted in 1987 and donated by USSR, to Central Cultural Fund (CCF) probably as a fund raiser.
The Medal was scanned at 300 dpi and displayed at 100 dpi. It was purchased in 2005 March from CCF office in Kandy.