Name : Aukana Buddha Statue, Sri Lanka
The Aukana temple nearby ancient Kala Wewa rainwater reservoir, perched on a small hill at the edge of the jungle located some 30km northwest of Golden Dambulla Rock Templewith its massive stone-carved Buddha
The perfect & elegant 12m-high standing Buddha is adored all over the island to such an extent, that several full scale copies have been erected in the island: Colombo, Dondra, Ratnapura, and Trincomalee.
The statue was erected in the same period the second half of the 8th century AD, as those at Polonnaruwa's Gal Vihara & Lankatilaka Vihara as well as Buduruwagala & Maligawila all of which emphasis on Buddha's superhuman, transcendal powers.
Unlike other great statues in the island which are carved in "Abhaya Mudra" (Have no fear), the Aukana statue is in the "Asisa Mudra", the blessing position, with the right hand turned sideways to the viewer. The figure is carved in the round, narrowly connected at the rear to the rock.
The perfect Buddha statue
Carved out of the living rock with supreme assurance, Aukana Buddha is a magnificent image. His expression is serene & from his curled hair there sprouts the flame called siraspata signifying the power of supreme enlightenment. Although the statue is large & stands straight up with feet firmly planted on the lotus stone pedestal, the body retains a graceful quality enhanced by beautifully flowing drapery clinging to the body.
The sculpture in proportion
Aukana Buddha statue is carved alone the proportion of nine faces: the body height is nine times the length of the face. The proportion of nine faces is the iconometry followed by the sculptors in the eight century AC of Sri Lanka.
Sirasapata is the symbol placed on the top of the Buddha images in Sri Lanka. The sirasapata found on the head of Aukana Buddha statue is believed to be a modern addition in the year 1870. The discovery of a fragment of a sirasapata in the premises of the site suggests there had been a sirasapata on the head of the statue nearly a century before 1870. This turn of events have lead to study whether sirasapata had existed from the very beginning in the 8th century AD. According to the Buddhist literature sirasapata have existed in the all four previous Buddhas. Introduction and existence of sirasapata have been consistent in Sri Lanka since second half of the fifth century A.D. with several exceptions. Hence it is believed Aukana Buddha statue too was adorned with a sirasapata.
Drapery, the art of draping the statues in folds is prominent in the Aukana Buddha statue. The robe in single groves is draped over the left shoulder to fall over the left shoulder up to the ankle. The right shoulder is left bare.
Aukana Buddha statuestand on a pedestal, the front of which is carved off a slab off stone in the form of a double petal lotus flower called Padmasana meaning the Lotus seat.
The tallest (Ancient) Buddha statue in the world
The magnificent free-standing statue carved out of a single rock is the tallest Buddha statue in existence today. Following the destruction of similar but much larger statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan, the Aukana Buddha has gained even greater significance in the Buddhist World.
The whole of cultured world was horrified at the savagery & barbarity inflicted upon the colossal Bamian Buddha statues carved from the cliffs that dominate the dusty plains in the heart of Hindu Kush which have watched serenely for 15 centuries as the fortunes of the city beneath them waned from Silk Road metropolis to remote Afghan backwater.
In honour of the destroyed & in defiance of intolerant, China quietly goes with its own form of defiance: in their territory, carving, sculpting, erecting two statues similar in every conceivable way, to the two Buddha Statues destroyed by Taliban. In the ancient times Bamiyan, the region where Mahayana Buddhism originated, was known as Vokkana or Avakana. Do we have a clue to the name Aukana? In Sinhalese there is no such word as Aukana meaning sun eating as erroneously proclaimed.
Best time to see :
The best time to see the magnificent statue is at the crack of dawn when the first rays of sun light up the east-facing statue's finely carved features.