Buduruvagala Temple


Buduruvagala: The Rock of Buddhist Sculptures

The very name Buduruvagala translates to "The rock of Buddhist Sculptures." Rooted in the Mahayana school of thought, this ancient temple is a haven for Buddhists and history enthusiasts alike. The statues, dating back a millennium, continue to beckon visitors to this day.

"Breathtaking! Buduruvagala's ancient statues transport you to a different time. A must-visit for history buffs and spiritual seekers alike!"

The Enigmatic Figures

At the heart of Buduruvagala are the colossal statues, with the tallest standing Buddha on the island at 15 meters. The original stuccoed robe, adorned with traces of vibrant orange, offers a glimpse into the temple's glorious past. Surrounding the towering Buddha are intricately carved smaller figures, each telling a story of its own.

Buduruvagala Temple
Buduruvagala Temple
Mahayana Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is predominantly known for Theravada Buddhism, yet Buduruvagala stands as an exception, proudly representing the Mahayana legacy. Amidst the historical temples, this site offers a unique perspective with its worship of "Bodhi Sathva" figures, a distinctive feature of Mahayana Buddhism.


Deepankara Buddha: The Central Figure

Believed to be from the 10th century, the central Buddha statue at Buduruvagala is identified as "Deepankara Buddha," standing an impressive 51 feet tall. The remnants of shaded colors on these sculptures provide a vivid glimpse into the temple's vibrant history.

Spiritual Icons: Avalokiteśvara, Tara, and Sudhana

Adjacent to the central Buddha, the figures of Avalokiteśvara, Tara, and Prince Sudhana offer a mesmerizing portrayal of Mahayana Buddhist deities. Local legends breathe life into these statues, weaving tales of compassion and spiritual significance.

The Mysterious Mustard Oil Lamp

Adding to the mystique, a carved flame-shaped structure on the same rock houses a perpetual oil source with an inexplicable fragrance of Mustard oil. This enigmatic phenomenon adds a layer of intrigue to the spiritual ambiance of Buduruvagala.

Tantric Influences: Vajrapani and Maitreya

On the Buddha's left, figures of Vajrapani and Maitreya reveal the Tantric side of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The symbolism of a vajra and the beckoning gestures of the figures add depth to the spiritual narrative.


Unveiling the Ancient Stupa

Recent archaeological discoveries along the road to Buduruvagala reveal an ancient stupa, underscoring the historical significance of this sacred site. The journey to the carvings is a pilgrimage through time and spirituality.

Buduruvagala: A Time Capsule of Mahayana Buddhism

The name Buduruvagala echoes through the centuries, preserving the Mahayana Buddhist legacy. These statues, thought to be from the 10th century, stand as silent witnesses to a bygone era, inviting modern-day seekers to delve into the roots of their faith.


In the heart of Sri Lanka, Buduruvagala Temple stands tall as a living testament to the coexistence of Mahayana Buddhism amidst the predominance of Theravada tradition. The statues, stories, and mysteries woven into the fabric of this ancient temple make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a spiritual and historical journey.



How old are the statues at Buduruvagala?

The statues at Buduruvagala are believed to date back to the 10th century, offering a glimpse into the rich history of Mahayana Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

What is the significance of the Mustard Oil Lamp at Buduruvagala?

The Mustard Oil Lamp, carved into a flame shape, remains perpetually wet with an unexplained source of Mustard oil, adding an air of mystery to the temple.

Who are the central figures at Buduruvagala?

The central figures include Deepankara Buddha, Avalokiteśvara, Tara, and Prince Sudhana, each contributing to the spiritual narrative of Mahayana Buddhism.

What recent discovery was made near Buduruvagala?

An ancient stupa was recently uncovered along the road to Buduruvagala, showcasing the rich archaeological heritage surrounding the sacred site.

Why is Buduruvagala significant in Sri Lanka's religious landscape?

Buduruvagala stands as a rare representation of Mahayana Buddhism in a predominantly Theravada Buddhist country, offering a unique perspective on the island's religious diversity.

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