Most great stories have been made into some movie or tv show by now. We have seen countless movies telling the stories of the Romans, the Vikings, the Egyptians, the Celts, and many more. Yet there is one nation that has an incredible story that sounds like a movie that is yet to be made (by modern cinema at least). It is a story that may never be told and if that is the case then you need to visit Sri Lanka to get a sense of this civilization that only existed for a short while.
Today we refer to this civilization as the Kingdom of Kassapa. The civilization only lasted from 473 CE to 495 CE. Kasyapa was the son of King Dhatusena who ruled. Kasyapa killed his father and stole the throne that would have rightfully passed to his brother when his father had passed away naturally. The new King Kasyapa was worried that his brother would try and take the throne back so he moved the entire palace and the place of his ruling to a more isolated location.
Today if you visit the Sigriyan wilderness you can still walk through plains until you approach some green forest. Rising out of these green forest is a huge rock. This rock is the Sigiriya fortress it stands 350 meters above sea level and is a natural formation. It has vertical walls on all sides and a flat top. This made it the perfect side to build a palace where the King could watch for any approaching attacks and remain safe. Today you can visit the fortress and after climbing for about 1 hour you will be treated to the site of the remains of the Kingdom of Kasyapa.
King Kasyapa remained atop the rock for 11 years. As each year passed he became more and more relaxed about his throne and more and more secure in the thought that his brother would not attack. After all, he was in an incredibly well-protected place with a moat surrounding the rock filled with crocodiles. However, after 11 years when his brother knew that Kasyapa had relaxed, he attacked.
Mogallana arrived with a massive army and attacked the fortified palace. Many people died during the battle and although Mogallana lost a lot of men, he was triumphant. He seized the palace but before he could capture his brother, Kasyapa committed suicide. Mogallana returned the throne to its original site after avenging the death of his father.
Today the site is a religious monastery and is open to tourists. Whether you visit for the spiritual offerings today, the historic insight of many years ago, or the simply astounding natural formation that the rock is, the Sigiriya rock is worth visiting. The story of Kasyapa and his brother Mogallana was actually made into a movie in 1974.
The movie is called The God King and was made by Lester James Peries. It was partly financed by Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and so has a mixture of local and British actors. The movie has an IMDB score of 7.6 meaning it is surely worth a watch. However, as epic battles are the tone of many movies today we would not mind seeing a modern remake either.
Whether you watch the movie or not, the story of Mogallana and Kasyapa is one of the most heated battles to ever take place between two brothers. It is one of the most beautiful sites that you can visit in all of Sri Lanka and it is one of the most short-lived civilizations that there ever was.