Saturday, October 9, 2010
The Aukana Buddha statue, situated close to the beautiful Kalawewa lake. is 12 metres high and is said to be now the tallest old Buddha statue in the world, after the destruction of the Bamiyan statue in Afghanistan. It is 'carved in the round' and is carved in the rare 'Asisa Mudra' - the posture of blessing. This statue was sculpted in the 12th Century AD.There is a story about this statue that a master and pupil had started to carve statues of the Buddha a few miles apart from each other, racing to finish his creation first. On finishing the statue first by the Master Artisan at Aukana, a gong was sounded. This sound was heard by the pupil, who was constructing the second statue at Sassaruwewa. The latter feeling ashamed at his defeat in the contest, had climbed to the top of his nearly completed statue, and jumped down killing himself. The name Aukana according to some was given because the early rays of the rising sun hit the top of the statue - ('Awwa' : Sunlight, 'Kanna' : Eating - S) and it looked as though the statue was eating up the first rays of the rising sun. There were a lot of similarities between the Bamiyan statue and that at Aukana.
The first is a photograph taken in 1938, the second was taken by me in the 1990s