Buduruwagala Buddha Statue (බුදුරුවගල රජමහා විහාරය)

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Buduruwagala is located about 5 km from the Wellawaya on the Thanamalwila road. The name Buduruwagala means “the rock with the statue of Buddha” And this is exactly what it is. Seven figures are carved in this rock with a massive 51 feet Buddha statue in the Abhaya Mudra gesture at the centre. The rock itself has the shape of a kneeling elephant with its head own. Although there is no documented information about this site in the ancient scriptures, Different historians have dated these statues from the 6th century to the late Anuradhapura period. (between 8 – 10 Century). These carvings are of the Mahayana Buddhist style and belong to the Pallawa- Sri Lankan art tradition and are similar to the statues at Dova Temple.

The tallest Buddha statue in the world was the Bamiyan Buddha statue in Afghanistan until the destruction of this ancient monument by the Taliban in March 2001. The Buduruwagala Buddha Statue is now considered the tallest in the world.

The centre statue is flanked by two statues each about 40 feet in height. These two are again flanked by two figures, one female and the other male.

The centre figure on the left (as you stand in front) still has most of the plaster and some paint which has been applied by the ancients. This centre figure is thought to be the figure of Avaloktheeshvara Bodhisattva (the manifestation of all the Buddha’s’ compassion in the Mahayana Buddhist teaching – In Theravada Buddhism Avaloktheeshvara is known as Lokesvara). He is identified by the small image of the meditating Buddha in the crown that he wears. This image can be clearly seen in the carving. The bare breasted female figure on the right to this is thought to be Thara Devi, the spiritual consort of Avaloktheeshvara Bodhisattva. She is carved in a ‘Thivanka’ position (bent in 3 places) and is wearing a tall headdress. The other is thought to be their son Prince Sudana.

On the right are 3 similar figures. The centre figure is thought to be the Maithri Bodhisattva. He is the fifth Buddha for this aeon. On the left is the Vajirapani Bodhisattva ( Sanskrit Vajra : thunderbolt/diamond, Pani : lit in the hand). He is one of the earliest bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism. He is generally represented with a diamond club in his hand)

How To Reach

You can reach the site from either Wellawaya or Thanamalwila depending on which route you take.

You can reach Wellawaya through many roads. If you are coming from Badulla or Bandarawela you must take the Ella Road which lies between Badulla-Bandarawela Road. On the way, you will also pass the beautiful Ravana Ella too. If you are travelling from Colombo you can take the Rathnapura – Balangoda Road and turn off from Koslanda. Taking this route will take you through the 220 metre high waterfall Diyaluma. Koslanda lies between the Balangoda – Haputhale Road, 203 km from Colombo.

If you are coming from down south, maybe from Kataragama, you can either use the Buttala Route or go through Thanamalwila. From Buttala town turn to Wellawaya Road. On this route, you will be also passing places such as Maligavila StatuesDematamal Viharaya and Yudaganawa.

From Wellawaya town use the Thanamalwila Road and after travelling 5 km you will come to the turn-off to the Buduruwagala. This place is marked by a board opposite this road with a picture of the rock and an arrow.

If you travelling from Tissamaharama or a location west to it, use the Tissamaharama – Thanamalwila road. There is another route to Thanamalwila from the Udawalawe Wildlife Sanctuary too. From Thanamalwila You have to travel towards Wellawaya for about 30 km to reach the turn-off to the site.

The by-road (turn off) from the Thanamalwila-Wellawaya is a tarred road which becomes a well maintained gravel road closer to the end. But this is motorable (van or car) most of the year. On the way you will also pass the beautiful Buduruwagala lake, an ideal place to take a break, just before the entrance to the temple. The distance to travel on this road is 4 km.

Also See

Map of  Buduruwagala

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)
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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Traveling Directions To Buduruwagala Temple

Distance from Colombo to Buduruwagala Distance From Galle to Buduruwagala
Through : Ratnapura – Balangoda – Beragala – Wellawaya
Distance :229 km
Travel time : 4.00 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Tangalle – Hambantota – Weerawila
Distance :205 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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