In the tranquil village of Rambadagalla in Ridigama in the Kurunegala District, a huge stone sculpture is taking shape. This is no ordinary sculpture but one modelled on the Bamiyan Buddha in Afghanistan which was destroyed by the Taleban in 2001.
Why a replica of the Bamiyan Buddha is being sculpted in the Kurunegala hillside is itself a tale worth relating. It was in the aftermath of the Taleban’s act, that outraged the world, that the agitated village youth met their priest demanding that some action be taken. Ven. Egodomulla Amaramoli Thera gave them a patient hearing and resolved to harness the feelings of the youth. The next day, he called a meeting at which he suggested the building of a replica of the Bamiyan Buddha in the village itself to show the world a positive response to a tragic act. The children of the village, spurred into action, collected Rs. 1,358 and handed it over to the Thera.
Such were the beginnings of this mammoth project – the building of a 67.5 foot granite statue which has now attracted the support of people from different communities and all walks of life.
Hearing that a group of Indian sculptors had just completed work at Ramboda, the Thera contacted Colombo businessman D. Easwaren who enlisted the help of architect R. Sivaram to produce a blueprint. Former Indian High Commissioner Nirupama Rao herself visited the site and this was followed by a Rs. 2.5 million donation from the Indian High Commission to the project.
Director of a leading business Nandadasa Rajapaksa, a devout Buddhist is also playing an active role in raising funds for the project. He strongly feels that the project on completion will help in building stronger ties between India and Sri Lanka and fostering peace in the region.
Advisor on Religious Sites and Temples to the Indian government Shri Muthu Muttiah Sthapathy, introduced to the project by Mr. Easwaren has brought in experienced sculptors from Chennai to work on the statue. Meanwhile donations have been received from many, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa who contributed Rs. 2.5 million.
MP Karu Jayasuriya and late Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle who was a Catholic also helped but much more is needed. Ven. Amaramoli says a sum of Rs. 100 million is needed for the completion of the project and is now appealing to the public to help in this effort that will stand as a symbol of unity and hope in a troubled world.
The project also includes the construction of a large meditation hall that can house 5000 pilgrims.
Donations could be sent to:
People’s Bank, Ridigama
A/C No: 1650033964
Commercial Bank, Kurunegala
A/C No: 8160023576
Sampath Bank, Kurunegala
A/C No: 100650287430
For more information contact Ven. Egodamulle Amaramoli at the Kurunegala Rambadagalla Vihara on tel: 037 2252018