The Kushtaraja Gala is situated on the old main road of Weligama which winds its way through the Weligama town and is 12 km away from the Matara town in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. This statue is carved from rock and is said to be the best from Mahayanist Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
There are many legends and folklore on the origins of this statue, which is believed to be of the 7th to 9th centuries. It is said that a foreign king was suffering for an extreme skin disease (which is called “Kushta” in Sinhalese), and he had sort the services of native doctors in the area after he landed in the Weligama Bay. Having being thoroughly cured of this skin disease and being restored to normal health, and to remember the King an image of him was carved and hence the statue named Kushtaraja Gala. An argument had arisen that if this entire story is true and not fabricated, then the King should have carved a statue of the doctor and not of himself.
Another legendary story is that a foreign king who was sick made offering to a certain God and when the King was cured, he carved a statue of that God. There could be some truth to these stories as Weligama is one place that has seen good times during the ancient era of Sri Lanka, with foreign trading prospering and ships calling at the Weligama Bay.
However, some people say that this statue is that of a Bodhi Sathwaya, a person aspiring to become a Buddha in his future life. A common belief is that this is the statue of “Awalokith” Bodhisathvaya of Mahayana Buddhism. This belief has been sparked with the fact that the statue is flanked by four sitting Buddha images on his head and a lotus in his hand