Some 30km northwest of Golden Dambulla Rock Temple, the village of Aukana located close to the large ancient Kala Wewa rain water reservoir, is home to the most perfectly preserved ancient statue in Sri Lanka. This 12m Buddha statue is widely believed to have been constructed in the 5th century during the reign of King Dhatusena, and under his orders. However, another theory is that it was done by an individual named Barana. There is another standing statue of the Buddha, quite similar to the Avukana statue, at Sasseruwa located close to Aukana. According to legend, the two statues are the result of a competition between a stone sculpting guru (master) and gola (pupil). The story goes that the master constructed the Avukana statue, while the pupil made the statue at Sasseruwa. The first to complete his statue had to notify it to the other by ringing a bell. The master managed to complete his statue first, and won the competition. This is said to be the reason that the Sasseruwa statue is in an unfinished state. The Aukana statue is considered to be the better of the two, and similarities between them have led historians to believe that the story is actually true. The hand of the Buddha faces the viewer sideways in what is known as the “Ashisha Mudra” or the “posture of blessing” is carved out of a rock boulder. Unlike other great statues in the island which are carved in "Abhaya Mudra" (Have no fear), The delicate and skillful carving of the Buddha's robe humanizes and chastely reveals the underlying form of his body, while the face's impassive expression projects an aura of spiritual supremacy. It is said that the degree of alignment of the statue is such that raindrop on the nose would drop straight down to small depression carved between the toes. Aukana Buddha statue is a masterpiece of a colossal Buddha Statue by an unknown sculptor: the serene expression of the statue, the gracefully carved robe with neat pleats brings in delicateness that could hardly be moulded into a living rock. 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 impassive expression of the face reflects the supreme spirituality. 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 as those at Polonnaruwa's Gal Vihara & Lankathilaka Vihara as well as Buduruwagala & Maligawila all of which emphasis on Buddha's superhuman, transcend powers.
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 honor 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.
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.
"We would like to say thank you very much Mr. Cyril for the excellent 7 night tour of Sri Lanka you provided us. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Sri Lanka and the itinerary you arranged. The four hotels (Earls Regency, Amaya Lake, Heritance Kandalama and the Colombo Hilton) were excellent and thoroughly deserved their 5 stars. Your driving skills was excellent. Also very friendly, calm, helpful, and courteous and always prompts. Sri Lanka is a lovely country and the people were very friendly. ..." Suresh and Prashanth
"Dear Cyril, We just got back to Singapore today...I am will be back to work tomorrow.. :) Sad but true ha ha……. We were very lucky to have you as our guide. I don’t think there will be anyone else who could have done an excellent job that you have done. We will spread the word around and will surely sell your services...do keep in touch so we can work something out. Thanks for the photos they are great Will visit your website soon and put in some good words for you.. Ti..." Shuhanth Haridas from Singapore
"11th April 2014 01 week tour around Sri Lanka A fantastic week was had by all with Cyril, exploring Kandy, Nuwaraeliya and Bentota. Your meaningful insights & excellent explanations of the Sri Lanka’s culture, nature and traditions were invaluable. Your smile and charm helped is feel related and comfortable. Not getting stressed once. With your guidance & tips, the holiday flew by with only one problem: it was very short! Your comprehensive list of talents ranges from findin..." Ian Price and family from UK
"Hi Mr.Cyril, Hope you and family and grandchild are doing fine. Hope to come to Sri Lanka again. We really enjoyed our trip especially with your special help and guidance. We will definitely contact you if at all we wish to visit Sri Lanka again. Thanks & Best Regards Mr. & Mrs.Pillai Singapore 29/7/11 " Mr & Mrs.Pillai from Singapore
"Dear Cyril, We would like to thank youthat you have arrange ourholiday which we have enjoyed so much, that we can call them the best holiday we have ever had. You are avery helpful guide- because you know about your beautiful country very much. We also appriciate your advices that you gave us during our two weeks long journey and your perfect trip arrangement we have enjoyed every single day. All the best to you and your family. Hope to see you again. Martha & Jarda 08 No..." Martha & Jaroslav Jirout
"Thank you so much for wonderful Sri Lanka trip.We had a great time. The trip was very relaxing as well as fun. My daughter MAHI who lovingly started calling you "Cyril Dada"(grand farther) Had a memorable trip. She cannot stop talking about elephants. Our trip to Sri Lanka will be full of great memories, its because of you. Thank you for showing us your beautiful country the way we wanted, eating local food, lots of King coconut and Corn stops. We will be surely coming back to see rest o..." Mithil Patel
"CyrilWe are now back at home after the lovely time with you in Sri Lanka, andvisiting Hong Kong.Thank you for driving for us while we were in Sri Lanka.In particular, we appreciated - your smooth, calm and efficient driving through varied traffic conditions - your calmness when things did not go quite as expected - your being available at all times of day - I'm remembering our late arrival at the airport, and our late departure - your information about all sorts of ..." Cliff Hooker and Jean from Australia
"We are an older couple celebrating a lot of years of marriage (and hiking) in Sri Lanka in February this year, for two weeks, and three days in the Maldives. Although we love to drive, we chose to go with a driver-guide, after planning the trip completely independently. (It turned out he might help us in the planning and selection of hotels, we own). The main advantage is reaching the sites, some of which are tired, refreshed after someone else used to bad roads, with bad signage - If you are i..." Sam
"Dear Cyril, Sincerest apologies for this delayed email --- reason being that I had been extremely busy with work & travel, since returning from Sri Lanka and just got a breather now, to download our photos and catch up with private matters. Hope this email finds you & family, in the best of health & spirits. Your granddaughter must be keeping you busy and giving you & Mrs. Baddegama immense joy. At this end, we are doing fine. Nikhita is back at school, now in Grade 7 and havi..." Pradeep Kumar Menon - Singapore
"We had a exellent and memorable trip. That all credit to you Cyril.Indepth knowledge about the place, roads, Culture and history. Very matuared and patient. We were in very safe hands on all the time. Thanks a lot, mainly it's memorable expeirience for all of us. We always recomond CYRIL TOURS to our friends and relatives in Dubai and in India." Awdhesh Kumar and gruop