Half-way up Sigiriya rock you arrive at a recess of polished walls on which a sequence of extraordinary frescoes were painted 1,500 years ago. Collectively regarded as one of the island’s greatest historic treasures, the paintings show a cohort of curvaceous women lavishly bejewelled and draped in exotic (and rather skimpy!) silk robes. They’re often referred to as ‘apsaras’ (or ‘cloud maidens’) and are believed to depict the king’s wives and courtesans. The murals offer a welcome respite in the stiff climb to the summit of Sigiriya Rock, where a spectacular view over the surrounding plains is revealed.

You can add this experience to any tailor-made itinerary that spends time in Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle

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