Sri Lanka has a rich history that dates back to many centuries. Even before the invasion of the Dutch or the Portuguese, this tiny island had made a name for itself. The many ruins scattered across the island tell the story of an ancient civilization that was advanced in its use of tools. One such remnant of the past is the Buduruwagala Temple.
Since there aren’t many historical records that mention this temple, scholars have found it a difficult task to map its origin. While some believe that it belongs to the 10th century or the Anuradhapura period others argue that it is from the 6th century. What they all agree on though is that this temple complex is of the Mahayana school of thought and was probably a hermitage for monks.
Translating as the rock with the statue of Buddha, the Buduruwangala Temple has a 51 foot Buddha statue that still has faded orange streaks indicating that the robes were once brightly painted. After the destruction of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan, this is considered the world’s tallest Buddha statue. The statue’s Abhaya Mudra gesture showcases protection implying that it was a worship place that devotees visited for assurance.
Apart from the Buddha statue there are also a couple of others. One is of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara and the other of a female bent in 3 places or in the thivanka position is believed to be his spiritual consort Thara Devi.
In the very same rock that bears the carvings of this statue is another equally interesting and slightly baffling site. Known as the mustard oil lamp this carving shaped like a flame is approximately 4 feet tall. The inside of this flame carving is always wet with a substance that smells like mustard oil; the source of which to date remains unknown.
Surrounding the temple there are plenty of other interesting sites of historical and natural importance including the Yala national park. Because of the park’s popularity finding hotels Yala Sri Lanka is an easy task. As a much visited site by tourists and locals, Yala National Park hotels include luxury accommodations to basic budget places. Jetwing Yala is popular among those seeking the former.
Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.