The gardens of the Sigiriya are among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. The gardens are divided into three sections – water, cave and boulder and ALSO terraced gardens.
These streams display the fountains, which have been made from circular limestone plates with symmetrical perforations, which are fed by underground water conduits and operate by gravity and pressure.
There are two shallow limestone cisterns which would have served as storage and pressure chambers for the fountains. These fountains are still active during the rainy season from November to January.
On either side of the fountains are four large moated islands. The flattened surfaces of the islands were meant for the Summer Palaces or 'water pavilions'. Access to the pavilions were across bridges cut into the surface rock.
The Octagonal pond is at a point where the water garden and the boulder garden meet, a still higher level from the rest of the water garden. There is a raised podium and a drip ledge, which would have formed the bathing pavilion.
The miniature water garden just inside the inner wall of the western precinct, consists of water pavilions, pools, cisterns, courtyards and conduits. The pebbled or marbled water-surrounds covered by shallow slowly moving water would have served as cooling devices with an aesthetic appeal.
The largest water garden has a central island surrounded by water. This was created 5 centuries before those at Angkor in Cambodia or Mughal gardens in India. The central island would have been occupied by a large pavilion. The water is in four L-shaped pools, connected by underground water conduits at varying depths, to provide different water levels.
The fountain garden is a narrow precinct on two levels. Western half has two long and deep pools, with shallow serpentine streams draining into the pools. These had been paved with marble slabs.
Cave AND BOULDER GARDEN
The boulder garden at a higher level from the symmetrical water garden is a totally different asymmetrical concept, with winding pathways and natural boulders. Almost every rock and boulder in this garden must have had a building of brick and timber. It also has the Cistern Rock which has a large cistern made of huge slabs of granite. There is also the Audience Hall rock, with a 5 metre long throne carved out of the rock.
The entrance to the inner citadel is made of a massive brick and stone wall, which forms a dramatic backdrop to the water garden and to the rock and the palace on the summit. The wall runs from the Octagonal pond to the bastion, which is formed of wide brick walls linking a series of boulders surrounding a cave pavilion with a rock-cut throne.
The Terrace Garden at the base of the rock is fashioned out of the natural hill, made with rubbled retaining walls.
The Palace garden on the summit was the domestic garden with its terraces and rock cut pools.