Sri Lanka // The east //


The remote village of MALIGAWILA, little more than a sandy clearing surrounded by a few makeshift shacks, is home to two giant standing Buddhist statues, fashioned out of crystalline limestone, which are thought to have once formed part of an extensive monastic complex. The images, which had collapsed and fallen to bits, were restored in 1991, when the various pieces were rescued from the jungle floor and painstakingly reassembled – though the Maitreya statue still looks rather patched up. The statues are impressive in themselves, but are made additionally mysterious by their setting, hidden away in a stretch of pristine lowland jungle.

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