As you’re walking the long path through the water gardens, you’ll note that the right side is excavated, so you can see the pattern of the gardens, the stonework and brickwork created by the pools — the left side is mostly a big pond, not yet excavated by archeologists.
I don’t know if that’s a deliberate choice, so you can see the process of archeology and the effect of time and history on what King Kasyapa tried to build? It all disappeared into the jungle for centuries, and while locals would have known it was there, and stories would be passed down, it took some serious work to unearth it all again. It’d be cool, if they did this deliberately, and planned to leave it that way — but maybe they just haven’t gotten to the left side yet? I don’t know!
Another view of the unexcavated side.
Middle rampart. Sigiriya is a fascinating mix of fortress and pleasure garden. Please picture both the guards, and the lovely ladies who would have been strolling about, enjoying the lilies and the kingfishers and the egrets.
The supposedly 500 concubines were guarded by female guards, interestingly!
There is so much structure to the Sigiriya gardens, and without the water, you can really see all the shapes they built. Structure is so important to gardens, but when I look at this I do notice the labor involved. So much work!
As a gardener myself, I know just how much of a pain it is moving even a few bricks or stones! Kings can command a lot of labor, though.
(That twisting path in the third photo would have been a little trickling stream. Just picture everything except that big main path filled in with water, and you’ll get a better sense of what it might have looked like in the 5th century.)