Eight centuries after the haughty historic creations of the statues of Galvihara Polonnaruwa, another sinhala hero is leading the way today to regenerate the last historic pride of our past. The person who shoulder this Herculean task of regenerating the down trodden splendor glory and magnificence of the nation, is a Venerable Sinhala Buddhist monk. He is Ven. Egodamulla Amaramoli Threro, the chief incumbent of Vidyasagara Priven Vihara, Monaragala, Rambodagalla, Rideegama, Kurunegala, who is also a Master Graduate. Ven. Amaramoli Thero is shouldering the gigantic task of carving the Samadhi Buddha Statue 67.5 feet high, utilizing a massive rock situated in the temple Premises, Once the carving is Completed it will go down in the history as the largest rock carved. Buddha Statue in, Sri, Lanka.
The person who is entrusted with the responsibility of the carving of the massive Buddha Statue utilizing the coarse and stiff stone rock is the most renowned sculptor from Bharatha, "Padma Sri" and "SILPA KALAMNI" awards winner, M. M. Isthapathi. The first stage of this creation is nearing Completion, under the personal Supervision of M. M. Isthapathi, who is widely known and highly respected not only in India but also in the other PARTS of the world, for his eminent classical SCULPTURING arts. This middle aged veteran artist possesses explicit qualities & pleasant and kind heartedness. With a constant smile that adorn his face. Although he has not carved a Buddha Statue yet, he is having deep desire to do so, which has built up after the destruction of the Barminian Buddha Statues in Afganistan, which had grieved him so much. Why he was selected for "Padma Sri" award (which a few are, a creation of statue of Krishna 60 feet high in front of Birla Museum in Culcutta creating a statue of Mother Durgha on the bank of river Krishna in the Andra Pradesh, which are examples of his creation talents.
The Monaragala Vihara is a sanctified field of merit, situated on a splendid rocky plain. One who travels along the Kandy Road from Kurunegala up to Mallawapitiya junction and turn to Keppitigala Road and travel up to 20 kilometer post can approach to Monaragala Vihara. It's five kilometers from Rideegama. Although there is no exact confirmation of the time of the commencement of the Vihara, it's not incorrect to decide that the commencement took place in a period contemporary to that of the constructions of Ridee Vihara. The ancient rock door frame and the congregation of boundary posts which are remnant today provide adequate data for proof.
In the year 1953 a Dharnrna school was started by Ven. Kirimatiyawa Pannasagara Thero and since then a Pre school for kids. The Vidya Sagara Pirivena, the Eakle Vocational Training Centre sponsored by the Department of small industries, The Indigenous Medical College that commenced from 1987 and developed Vihara to the helm of an Educational and Social Service Institute. On the November Ven. Kirimatiyawe Pannasagara Thero passed away as a result of a motor car accident that took place at Jakartha, while he was engaged in a foreign Dhamma Mission in Indonesia. Since then Ven. Egodamulle Amaramoli Thero is holding the post of the Chief Incumbent of the vihara up to date.
The destruction of the Bahaminian Buddha statues by the Thaliban extremists which was considered as the largest Buddha Statue In the world today, provided the basic concept to creating the rock statue of this nature. The destruction of Buddha statue which was apprehended as a world heritage was scorned by the whole civilized world, Ven. Amaramoli Thero and the members of the statue carving committee who were deeply grieved over this barbaric action, made a firm determination to carve a large rock statue. Some ordained members of the clergy as well as some laymen thought that this idea can never be fulfilled.
But Ven. Arnaramoli Thero who had a deep confidence over the prerequisite fulfillments of Lord Buddha to attain Buddhahood (Paramitha) started the work with a firm determination. He selected a rock peak about 70 feet high, situated at the far end of the vihara premises as suitable for the purpose. The rock peak appeared as it is adorned and refined for the salutation of the Blessed one. Although the stone statue carving committee proposed plans for creation of the statue, a suitable artist for the purpose was a tremendous task. By the time of the inauguration on 18th July 2001, we had identified a local artist but we had to eliminate him after some time.
Although the matter got delayed by six months without any proceedings, an important clue was given by Mr. Iswaran who met accidentally at the Ramboda kovil That's how the veteran artist Mr. M. M. Isthapathi, Tamil Nadu, India shouldered the full responsibility.
We first met the veteran at his residence on 07.02.2002 at 11.00 pm in the night, and at the first discussion we had with him, he confirmed that to carve a statue of 50 feet high, a team of 20 sculptures have to be employed for two years and the estimated cost will be ten million Indian rupees. He came to Sri Lanka, and inspected the rock peak and increased the height of the statue to 67.5 feet and reduced his earlier estimate of Indian Rupees Ten million to Five Million three hundred thousand, and forwarded his estimate on 12. 04. 2002.
This rock peak is situated on the western boundary of the Rambodgalia vihara land facing In this natural formation of the rock has a projection to the front. The floor on which the rock is Eastwards is been downwards and 10 feet of the rock is now been excavated. The rock has been cut 18.5 feet inwards and removed. The centre part of the rock has been cut 12.5 feet inwards. The part of the rock that is necessary for the carving of the statue has been turned and the balanced rock parts on either sides have been removed. Now the careful removal of the parts besides the areas needed for the statue is been done these days. The area 18x18x18 feet needed for the head of the statue is reserved and the balance rock has been removed. Further 22 feet rock running down from the shoulders to the elbows of both left and right sides have been reserved and balance have been carved out. The portions of rock on either side of the left and right knees are to be completely removed.
The Rarnbodagalla is a region which is the habitat of poor peasants depending solely on cultivation for which they do not even have irrigation facilities and situated far away from the capital. As this is the part of the North Western province close to the central province, from where the gradually escalating of the hill country mountain chains could be seen on all sides. The starting zone of the Daduru Oya is at the close vicinity. Persons who are capable of shouldering this type hefty consignments are scarce in this area. Whatever their financial ability is, they have given wonderful support in this matter. The sacrifice they made enabled us to spend 25 lacks of Rupees on this work. During the period the stone statue carving committee was engaged in this services, one clear fact that was quit apparent to us, was the sudden flash of inspiration that referred the haughtiness and religious sentiments concealed in their blood, and gear into swift action with a rejoiceful mind.
Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse holds a post an Honey. Vice Patron while Deshabandu Karu Jayasuriya is the president, and Jayawickrama Perera is a Vice President of Committee. The proprietor of Eswaran Brothers, Colombo 14, holds the post of Chairman, Finance Committee. While "Lakbima" acts as the official News paper, "The Sirasa Radio" gives coverage on electronic media. The Stone Statue Carving Committee who are inspired by the past haughtiness of magnificence and began the creation of he largest miraculous stone carved Samadhi Buddha Statue, have the pleasure to intimate to all the Sri Lankans living in the Twenty first century have the scarece opportunity of being participants of this historic event, who could be proud of handing over the invaluable souvenir from the present generation, to their younger generation.