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Rock Carving - Sri Lanka - Buduruwagala




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 gallery of seven rock carvings in Buduruwagala rock

The gallery of seven rock carvings in Buduruwagala rock

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 21st March 2001. The Buduruwagala Buddha Statue is now considered the tallest in the world.

 Bamiyan Buddha before and after destruction

 Bamiyan Buddha

 Bamiyan Buddha

Destruction of Bamiyan Buddha


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.

Awalokethishwarava bhodhisathwa statue


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.


The full figure of Bodhisatwa Awalokethishwara flanked by his consort

 Figure of the consort


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)





 Rock carvings of the costumes

The feet of bodhisatwa awalokethishwara

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