The name Weligama, literally means “sandy village” which refers to the area’s sandy sweep bay. There are a number of sites of historical importance within Weligama and its vicinity, including a 3 metres (9.8 ft) high bas-relief statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, carved into the surrounding rock, between the 6th-9th century AD. It is known locally as Kusta Raja Gala or Rock of the Leper King and is thought to represent a king smitten with a skin disease (possibly leprosy “kusta”), who was prompted in a vision to take coconut pulp and water for three months as a cure. When he fulfilled the vision his health was restored, he then commissioned his figure to be carved on the rock commemorating this miraculous cure. This sculpture is believed to be all that is left of the old Agrabodhi Vihara that was located there.