Friday, August 16, 2013


Avukana Buddha Statue

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The colossal statue of the Buddha carved out of living rock is situated to the west of Kalawewa, an artificial reservoir built by king Dhatusena in the fifth century. It is one of the five colossal standing statues of the Buddha found in Sri Lanka. Situated on a hilltop it is in a state of perfect preservation. From the lotus seat to the top of the head it is 11.36 meters in height.


Opinion is divided among scholars about the date of the statue. Stylistically, it is believed to belong to the period between the fifth and the eighth century. The statue is unusual not only in size, but also in its expression. The massiveness of the statue suggests the transcendental quality of the Buddha that is in essence a basic ideal in the Mahayana from of Buddhism.


The right hand is in Abhaya Mudra (Fearlessness) and the left hand holds the end of the robe, which is depicted as clinging to the body outlining the limbs. Although the face displays prominent thick lips, it somehow express calmness and fortitude. Bronze statuettes Brahma and four directional divinities within the chamber of the lotus pedestal suggests the Buddha's supreme position above gods and Brahmas as opined by Prof Senerath paranavitana.

Stupa of Avukana Viharaya

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