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The Dhowa rock temple is famous for its large unfinished Buddha image, carved into the rock face, which is considered an example of Mahayana sculpture. The 12 m (39 ft.) rock carved Buddha statue and the ornamental gateway are the main attractions of the temple. The statue is in a state of ruin due to rapid decaying.
Folk tales hold that the half-finished Buddha statue was carved by King Walagamba himself while hiding in this caves during foreign invasions. The king is said to have left the area before he could finish carving the statue, thus leaving it half finished.
The paintings of the shrine room had been decorated with the influence of the Kandyan era. These paintings depict various Jathaka stories (Jathaka stories mean education stories of past births of the Lord Buddha). The canopy of the rock is decked with paintings of lotus and various other flowers. Among these paintings, the Ath-Gon Satana (battle between a tusker and a bull) is featured. The priority had been given to the cobra image in the structure of the temple. The cobra had been featured in the paintings as well as on the jug used for serving water to Buddha.
Many travelers are attracted to the temple because of its quiet and beautiful surroundings.
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