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Afraid of an attack by Moggallana, Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya.
After this period, no records are found on Sigiriya until the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was used briefly as an outpost of the Kingdom of Kandy.The earliest evidence of human habitation at Sigiriya is the Aligala rock shelter to the east of Sigiriya rock, indicating that the area was occupied nearly five thousand years ago during the Mesolithic Period.Buddhist monastic settlements were established during the 3rd century BCE in the western and northern slopes of the boulder-strewn hills surrounding the Sigiriya rock.Most of the elaborate constructions on the rock summit and around it, including defensive structures, palaces, and gardens, date from this period.The Culavamsa describes King Kashyapa as the son of King Dhatusena.Still further interpretations regard the site as the work of a Buddhist community, without a military function.
This site may have been important in the competition between the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions in ancient Sri Lanka. Bell was the first archaeologist to conduct extensive research on Sigiriya.
The Culavamsa and folklore inform us that the battle-elephant on which Kashyapa was mounted changed course to take a strategic advantage, but the army misinterpreted the movement as the king's having opted to retreat, prompting the army to abandon him altogether.
It is said that being too proud to surrender he took his dagger from his waistband, cut his throat, raised the dagger proudly, sheathed it, and fell dead.
In India he raised an army with the intention of returning and retaking the throne of Sri Lanka, which he considered to be rightfully his.
Expecting the inevitable return of Moggallana, Kashyapa is said to have built his palace on the summit of Sigiriya as a fortress and pleasure palace.
Several rock shelters or caves were created during this period.