Yala, Sri Lanka is famous for being a magnificent national park, home to the iconic Sri Lankan leopards. However, Yala is also home to many historical sites and ancient ruins that tell tales of the rich, colourful heritage of Sri Lanka. Such a testament showing ancient Sri Lankan craftsmanship is the Buduruwagala Temple.
What to expect
Buduruwagala directly translates to “rock in the shape of Buddha”. The main attraction in this scenic temple is the beautiful, 1000-year-old rock carvings of Buddha figures. The biggest statue is of Lord Buddha, standing at 15m tall. It is a delicate yet magnificent work of art, depicting even the finest details such as the contours of the Buddha’s robes.
The central figures
You can see three figures to the Buddha’s right; the centre of the three is thought to be Avalokiteshvara, a Mahayana Buddhist figure. The white-robed figure on his left is known to be his wife, Tara. Local legend depicts that the third figure represents Prince Sudhana. The crowned statue on Buddha’s left-hand side represents Maitree, the next Lord Buddha. To his left is the figure representing Vajirapani, holding a thunderbolt. This is very rare and unusual as it depicts the tantric side of Sri Lankan Buddhism. The final statue to the right may either represent Sampath Brahmana or Vishnu.
Things to keep in mind
Once you step into the temple premises, you will be accompanied by a tour guide who will expect a tip. You can get there using a tuk from Yala hotels such as the famous Cinnamon Wild Yala but it will cost you a steep rate. The most cost-effective way is to take a bus or drive there yourself. The route is quite scenic filled with rare, local birds.