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Ruins

Aukana Buddha

  Province North Central
  District Anuradhapura
  Nearest Town Kakirawa
  Period 459-477 A.D.
  Ruler King Dhatusens

Introduction

The 13 meter high statue carved out of solid granite goes back to the 5th century, to the reign of King Dathusena. (about 50km south of Anuradhapura) On a rainy day, it is said, that one can see droplets of water falling off the tip of the statue's nose hitting the ground exactly between the toes.- a testament to the architectural accuracy of the sculptor. The brick enclosure around and above was built recently to protect it from weather.

History

The approach road to Avukana passes along the bund of the Kalawewa one of the biggest in Sri Lanka which was built by King Dhatusens in about 470. This bund is nearly four miles long, 40 feet high and holds back 72,687 acre feet of water. The Kalawava was able to irrigate about 7,000 acres of rice fields. A short distance on the left from where the road turns off the bund are the remains of the huge sluice and spillway of this hydraulic marvel. Continuing further on the pilgrim will arrive in Avukana. The various caves around Avukana have inscriptions dating from the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE which shows that the place was a monastery from at least that time. Avukana's ancient name is unknown and so is the king who made its fine statue. In the 18th century the place was called Kalagal which in Pali would be Kalasela. A place called Kalasela the mentioned in the Culavamsa as containing an image for which King Dhatusena (455-73) had a diadem made. As Aukuana's statue dates from around the 5th century BCE it may well be the place mentioned in the chronicle.