Monaragala city is rich in natural vegetation and fruitful region, which is located at the bank of Kubukkan Oya. Rice is the most dominating mono-crop in the region along with rubber cultivation.
Monaragala is an important city in the Uva province, north of Monaragala are the mountains while the southern region mainly consists of jungles. The city along might not an important attraction for the tourists to include in the Sri Lanka road trip, but there are several places with historical importance near Monaragala.
Few kilometres east of Monaragala is Galabedda, the residence of the Ruhunu king, in the early days of Sri Lankan history. It had been built similar to a fortification providing the security for the resident. It is believed to be built during the first half of the 12th century.
The rest of the construction what left today helps to get a good idea of the palace existed at the site. The citadel was covered by a wall and palace and other buildings were built inside the citadel. There had been only one door providing access to the outsiders and vice versa. The giant wall was providing the maximum protection for the citadel.
Queens Sugala, once ruled southern Sri Lanka, during the Polonnaruwa period. She possessing the tooth relic and same time the rest of the country was under the rule of mighty king Parakramabahu. He was in search of the tooth relic in order to manifest his kingship over the island. Later the king conquered the Ruhunu kingdom and took the tooth relic into his passion.
The ruins of Dambegoda Vihara are to be found in Maligavila, about 15 away from Monargala. A huge Buddha statue can be found at the site. The statue was 12 meters in height while the width at the shoulder of the statue measured to be 3 meters. The statue believed to be residing in an image house, today the image house is not to be found at the temple. The statue believed to be originated during the Anuradhapura period (6th to 7th century AD).
The region south of the Wellawaya-Monaragala main road is rich with granite rocks and caves. Most of the caves believed to be occupied by Stone Age human of Sri Lanka. The massive cave of Budugala had been a resident quarter of Buddhist monks in the past. Even, today number of Buddha statues is to be found in the cave and one of them is a reclining Statue in magnitude size.
In order to reach the cave, one needs to travel in the southward direction from Buttala. After travelling about 8 KM a footpath (1.5 km) leads to the cave.
Buduruwagala Buddhist temple
Buduruwagala is one of the important historical Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and it is located in the dry zone, in the village of Wellawaya. Temple is located bordering the Yala national park and surrounded by the dry zone forest. Buduruwagala means ‘Stone image of the Buddha’ and This Buddhist temple is consists of seven statues carved from a rock, the outline of the rock is believed to resemble a kneeling elephant. Buduruwagala temple is believed to be built at the end of the Anuradhapura period (10th century).
The central figure of the seven images is Buddha. At 15m, this Buddha is the tallest statue in Sri Lanka, higher even than the ones at Aukana and nearby Maligawila. The statue depicts the Buddha in Abhaya Mudra position, standing with the right hand raised, palm facing outwards. This pose is interpreted as the posture of “kindness and freedom from fear”. The left hand, broken at the figures is curled towards his shoulder.
The statue of the Buddha is quite deep and clearly carved and has aged well, though the nose has been damaged over time. On the left, you will notice white and orange on the robes that suggest this statue, like the other here, would once have been painted. The Buddha stands on a platform. On either side are two groups of three figures that represent a bodhisattva (a Buddha to be) flanked by two attendants.
The central figure in the group to the Buddha’s right is Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. This statue remains nearly all-white while the hollow around his crown, which features a figure of the Buddha in meditation, still remains its orange glow. In Buddhist mythology, Avalokiteshvara, one of the most important Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism, was said to look upon the world with compassion.
The figure to the right is Prince Sudhana, possibly the least well-defined of the three. The image is carved onto a Granite rock and it has 3 bents, a position where the body looks curved at the waist. His power is his ability to guide the young onto the path of good behaviour.
On to the left side of the Bodhisattva figure, it is the figure of Aryabhata or Thara Devi, which is also carved with 3 bends. This figure believed to be having healing power.
On the Buddha’s left-hand side there is a larger gap leading to three figures that display a more Hindu style. The central figure is the Buddha yet to come, Maithri Bodhisattva, which is quite elaborately ornamented.
To the left of the Bodhisattva is Vajrapany or god Sakra. The left hand and robes are barely visible, though the hourglass-shaped Tibetan thunderbolt symbol, the Dorje, which he clearly holds in his right hand, is significant and unusual. Its presence has helped to put a date on these statues since this Tantric symbol indicates an influence of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism that enjoyed brief influence in Sri Lanka during the 10th century.
The figure on the right is sometimes named as Vishnu, but more often is said to present Sahampath Brahma. The hands are missing and the lower part of his body has weathered considerably
Above the seven figures, notably in the Buddha, you will notice little square-cut holes in the rock. Those holes believed to be used as holders that supporting the once existed protective canopy.