Maligawila is remote village in the Moneragala District which lies about 15 kilometers off the Buttala town towards Okkampitiya. In 1951, a massive Buddha Statue broken in to pieces was discovered in the Jungles of Maligawila. The statue was further damaged by treasure hunters.
An attempt was made in 1974 to raise this statue and failed. But in 1980, then President Ranasinge Premadasa assigned a local engineering team who was was able to raise this statue and restore it back to the ancient glory.
Maligawila Buddha Statue is carved out of a single limestone rock and stands about 14.5 metres high. This is the tallest free standing buddha image in the ancient Sri Lanka.
According to the ancient chronicle Chulavamsa, the statue was built in the 7th century by a prince named Aggabodhi from Ruhuna. It mentions that he built a temple named Pathma Vihara, and also constructed a great statue of the Buddha there.
Remains of a foundation around this statue indicates a massive image house built around this statue. There has been a image house surrounding this gigantic statue. This image house is approx 20 meters in length and width with 1.2 meter thick brick walls. This would have been as tall as 20 meters.
About 500 metres away from the Maligawila Buddha Statue is another image carved from a single rock. This is thought to be the image of the Maithree Natha Bodhisattva also some times identified as Avalokithswara Bodhisattva. This image also called Dambegoda Bodhisattva statue. This statue is 9.85 meters tall and weighs about 40 tons.
The Dambegoda Bodhisattva Statue was discovered fallen from its pedestal with its face down but in tact. The statue had been broken in to several pieces by the fall. After this discovery ,treasure hunters has blown up the Dambegoda Statue to fragments using dynamite looking to hidden treasures. This statue was finally restored by the department of archeology in 1990.
Just left to the stair way to the Bodhisattva statue you will find a pillar inscription protected by a newly built structure. This stone pillar has been placed by the king Mahinda IV (956-972 AD) on his 10th year of reign. This inscription records the work done by the the king for the upliftment of the Buddhism and has some rules laid down by him in Administration of Buddhist sites.
Map of Maligawila Buddha Statue and and Dambegoda Bodhisattva Statue
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.
Travel Directions to Maligawila Buddha Statue and Dambegoda Bodhisattva Statue
You can reach the site from either Wellawaya or from Kataragama depending on which route you take.
You can reach Wellawaya in through number of routes. 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 on the way. There is a another road from Beragala. Taking this road will take you through the 220 meter high Diyaluma waterfall. Koslanda lies between the Balangoda – Haputhale Road.
If you are coming from Kataragama, use the Buttala Road and the turn off is just before the Buttala main junction. The temple is about 20 kms form the turn off from Buttala. From Buttala any person can direct you to the temple.
Route from Colombo to Maligawila Buddha Statues
Route from Kataragama to Maligawila Buddha Statues
|Through : Ratnapura – Balangoda – Beragala – Wellawaya – Buttala|
Distance : 240
Travel time : 5-6 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
|Through : Buttala|
Distance : 63 km
Travel time : 1-1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map