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 figured are carved in this rock with a massive 51 foot Buddha statue in the Abhaya Mudra gesture at the centre. The rock it self has 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 centuary to late Anuradhapura period. (between 8 – 10 Century). These carvings are of the Mahayana Buddhist style and belongs to the Pallawa- Sri Lankan art tradition and similar to the statues at Dova Temple.
The tallest Buddha statue in the world was the Bamiyan Buddha statues 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 which each about 40 foot in height. These two 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 of 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 wares. This image can be clearly seen the carving. The bare breasted female figure on the right to this is thought be Thara Devi, the spritual consort of Avaloktheeshvara Bodhisattva. She is carved in a ‘thivanka’ position (bent in 3 places) and is wearing a tall head dress. The other is thought to be their son Prince Sudana.
Buduruwagala CarvingsBuduruwagala CarvingsBuduruwagala Carvings
On the right is 3 similar figures. And the centre figure is thought to be the Maithri Bodhisattva. He is the fifth Buddha for this eon. 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 from Thanamalwila depending on which route you take.
You can reach Wellawaya in through many roads. If you are coming from Badulla or Bandarawela you must tale the Ella Road which lies between Badulla-Bandarawela Road. On the way you will also pass the beautiful Ravana Ella too on the way. 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, may be from Kataragama, you can either use 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 Statues, Dematamal Viharaya andYudaganawa.
Form the Wellawaya town use the Thanamalwila Road and after traveling 5 km you will come to the turn off to the Buduruwagala. This place is marked by a board opposite to this road with picture of the rock and a arrow.
If you traveling 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) form the Thanamalwila-Wellawaya is a tarred road which become 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, ideal place to take a break, just before the entrance to the temple. The the distance to travel on this road is 4 km.
Buduruwagala Buddha Statue Temple | travel in Sri Lanka Explore Wonder of Asia