A rocky fortress in the Malaya district of Ceylon. Now Sīgiri, about thirty eight miles south east of Anurādhapura (Cv.Trs.i.42, n.1). Perhaps the rock itself resembled the form of a recumbent lion, especially the forepart of his body.
When Kassapa I. had slain his father, he took refuge there, clearing the land about the rock, surrounding it with a wall, and building a staircase to it in the form of a lion. Kassapa and his retinue lived in the fortress till he was defeated by his brother Moggallāna, and then killed himself (Cv.xxxix.2f). Mention is made of several vihāras on Sīhagiri, among them being Dalha and Dāthākondañña, which Moggallāna I. gave to the Dhammaruci and Sāgalika schools. Cv.xxxix.41. Perhaps the fortress was originally a centre of the Dhammarucikas, and Kassapa may have borrowed from them the idea of making use of it.
King Sanghatissa, his son, and his minister, were executed on Sīhagiri, at the command of Moggallāna III., (Cv.xliv.32f) and later Moggallāna himself was slain there by Silāmeghavanna (Cv.xliv.60).
The rock is now famous for its frescoes, which are very similar to those of Ajantā.