Kushtaraja Statue in Weligama
Kushtaraja is the name of a rock sculpture within the town limits of Weligama. "Kushta-Raja" translates to “Leper- King”. The name of the rock is “Kushtarajagala”. Another transcription is “Kusta Raja Gala”. It's a cluster of large moss-covered boulders in a small grove with several majestic old trees. A rock-cut image of a Bodhisattva, measuring 383 cm in height, is sculptured in an arched niche, just two metres above ground level. This fine work of sculptural art, though popularly known as the “Leper King”, depicts a Mahayana Buddhist saviour, a Bodhisattva. The Archaelogical Department’s website ascribes the statue to the 6th or 7th century C.E. This seems to be a very early dating. Most of Sri Lanka’s Mahayana Buddhist statues in a similar style are from about the 9th century C.E. A dating to the 6th century would mean, it is earlier than its Southindian counterparts.
Kushtarajagala is situated 1 km west of the town centre of Weligama 500 m away from the sandy beach and just 200 m south of the Agrabodhi Vihara, where, according to the Bodhivamsa chronicle, one of the first 32 Bodhi saplings from the Sacred Bodi Tree of Anuradhapura was planted.
Weligama is located in Matara District in Sri Lanka’s Southern Province. The coordinates of the Kushtarajagala are 5.969 north and 80.420 east.