Little visited by foreign tourists, Buduruwagala boasts seven colossal rock-cut figures that are said to date from the 10th century. Carved in low relief, the impressive sculptures belong to the Mahayana school of Buddhism, which enjoyed royal patronage between the 3rd and 10th centuries AD.
In the centre is a 16 m high standing Buddha in the abhaya mudra flanked on either side by a group of three sculptures. The central of three figures to the Buddha’s right is thought to represent Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion in Mahayana Buddhism. He can be identified by the image of the meditating Buddha on the crowns he wears. The figure still bears orange paint around the head and white stucco on the body; all other sculptures may originally have been decorated in a similar fashion. The female figure to the right is thought to be the Mahayana goddess, Tara.
Among the group of figures to the left of the Buddha, the one in the centre is believed to be Maitreya, the fifth and future Buddha. The sculpture to his left depicts the Tibetan bodhisattva Vajrapani, holding a thunderbolt symbol, while the figure to his right is thought to be Vishnu. more