Explore The Cultural Triangle
Aukana means “sun-eating”, and dawn, when the low light brings out the fine detail of the east-facing statue, is the best time to visit (if you can organize a car and driver for such an early hour). The statue is in the unusual (for Sri Lanka) asisa mudra, the blessing position, with the right hand turned sideways to the viewer, as though on the point of delivering a swift karate chop. The figure is carved in the round, just connected at the back to the rock from which it’s cut, though the lotus plinth it stands on is made from a separate piece of rock. The walls at the foot of the statue would originally have enclosed a vaulted image chamber.