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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Sri Lanka features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why Sri Lanka should be the next place you take your kids

Why Sri Lanka should be the next place you take your kids

Sri Lanka is blessed with all the essential ingredients for the family trip of a lifetime. Comparatively compact, with a colourful cultural identity, incredible…

24 Jul 2017 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
16 evocative pictures of Sri Lanka

16 evocative pictures of Sri Lanka

After a couple of weeks travelling across Sri Lanka, photographer Nori Jemil shares why this Indian Ocean island is a perfect subject. Here are 16 of her favour…

04 Oct 2016 • Nori Jemil insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month