Sigiriya which is one of the most valuable historical monuments of Sri Lanka with locals referring to it as the Eighth Wonder of the World is under threat because of human activities. This ancient palace and fortress complex has significant archaeological importance and attracts thousands of tourists every year.
The appearance of cracks on some of the frescoes, signals an imminent danger to this world heritage site. In certain frescoes the original paint appears to be peeling off. This is more evident in a fresco which was not subject to the waste oil attack some time back. The Mirror wall is constantly subject to droppings of the swallows who nest inside the caves of the rock fortress.
Making matters worse the large number of visitors who flock to this site walk on the ancient brick walls flouting the many prohibition notices put up within the site for preservation of this site.
The use of powerful flash lights from the highly sophisticated cameras by both local and foreign visitors at the gallery of the frescoes continues regardless despite the inconvenience to those who visit the site to view the frescoes admiring its beauty and texture. Attempts by the security guards of the Archaeology Department has become futile.
Incidents of misbehaviour by people under the influence of liquor had also being a major concern for the security personnel.
It appears that the security provided at this site is inadequate leaving much to be desired. The authorities seems to be only concerned with the issue of admission tickets and checking them and not delegating responsibility in maintaining this historical site .
Attempts to contact the Archaeology Director General Dr. Senarath Dissanayake and the Sigiriya Project Manager had been unsuccessful.
Central Cultural Fund Director General Prof. Prishantha Gunawardane said he was aware this matter. He said he would take steps to evolve a programme to conserve the heritage site. (K.K. Ariyadasa)
Pix by K.K. Ariyadasa