In the ancient kingdom of Rajarata, the cradle of Sinhalese civilization, at about thirty kilometres north-west of Dambulla, sits the Aukana Buddha statue, one of the tallest antique statues of Lord Buddha in the world. Considered a masterpiece of ancient art in Sri Lanka, this representation of the founder of Buddhism is carved in a posture blessing on the rock that is twelve meters tall.
The statue of Lord Buddha of Aukana, based on a pedestal and chastely draped in a robe with pleats neatly drawn, gives a life-like air to this enormous rock, while the traits of the face give an expression of absolute serenity. They say that 32 features form the expression of Lord Buddha’s face in order to reflect his enlightenment, although only 16 are visible to the naked eye. It is also said that the degree of alignment of the sculpture was planned in order for water to flow in case of rain.
The water flows up to the point of the nose before falling perpendicularly into a small hole dug between his feet, protecting the statue from humidity. The proportions of the Aukana Statue seem perfectly balanced, as a result of the so-called « nine faces » proportion, which means that the body is equal to nine times the size of the face, according to the 13th century stone cutting school of Anuradhapura.
What remains of the ruins of the ancient temple around the statue of Lord Buddha, contribute to the strange and calm atmosphere of the place. To arrive at the Aukana site, you take a route that goes along the large reservoir full of life called Kala Wewa, constructed in the 5th century under the regime of King Dhatusena. He was the unlucky father who witnessed his son killing him before the former declared himself the king of the entire island and built the famous palace of Sigiriya or the Rock of the Lion.