Sri Lanka Travel Tours

The Aukana Buddha

The Aukana Buddha

Sum up

The Aukana Buddha statue in Sri Lanka is not only the tallest ancient Buddha statue in Sri Lanka, it is also arguably the most elegant.

It lies to the west of the large Kala Wewa tank near Anuradhapura and stands 12m, completely free-standing and carved from a single rock.

The creation of both the temple and the tank (reservoir) is attributed to King Dhatusena in the 5th century.

This masterly sculpture is an example of the Abhayamudra Buddha, showing superhuman qualities. The right-handed gesture, raised to the right shoulder with the palm spread, signifies lack of fear; the left-hand position draws the worshipper to Buddha for release from their earthly bonds. An impassive expression conveys a supreme spirituality.

It is said that the statue is so perfectly aligned that a raindrop on the nose drops straight down to a small depression carved between the toes.

The statue has gained significance in recent times due to the destruction of a similar Buddha in Afghanistan.

The Aukana Buddha can be visited en route to Anuradhapura and can easily be combined with a visit to the ancient monastery site of Sasseruwa. It only takes a maximum of 45 minutes to visit the site and the nearby Kala Wewa tank is an excellent place to stop off and have a picnic in scenic surroundings.

Five fun facts about the Aukana Buddha

  • The statue glows with the rising sun, befitting the translation of the name as “sun eating”
  • Experts argued about its age until 1952 when an inscription was found on a granite slab in the shrine
  • The Sirasapata symbol placed on the top of the Buddha is not the original
  • The pedestal on which the Buddha stands, shaped in the form of a lotus flower, was carved separately
  • According to legend, the statues at Aukana and Sasseruwa are the result of a competition between a stone sculpting guru and his pupil

Duration: 1 hour

Best Time: Year-round

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