The Avukana statue, situated near Kekirawa in North Central Sri Lanka, is a towering symbol of reverence, standing over 40 feet (12 meters) tall. Crafted during the 5th century from a massive granite rock face, it showcases exquisite artistry and spiritual significance. Adorned in a finely detailed robe, the statue depicts the Buddha in a variation of the Abhaya mudra, conveying fearlessness and compassion.

Commissioned during the reign of Dhatusena, the statue’s creation is rumored to have emerged from a friendly competition between a master and a pupil. Its construction reflects a blend of artistic influences, notably from the Gandhara and Amaravati schools of art in India.

The statue’s right hand, raised to the right shoulder with the palm facing left, assumes the Asisa mudra, a nuanced variation of the Abhaya mudra. Though hewn from the granite rock face, the statue remains partially attached, with a slender strip of rock connecting it to the background and providing support. Beneath the Buddha, a separate pedestal sculpted in the likeness of a lotus flower enhances the statue’s grandeur.

Standing at an impressive height of 38 feet 10 inches (11.84 meters), the Avukana statue reaches a total height of 42 feet (13 meters) when including the pedestal. Originally housed within a sprawling image house or shrine, remnants of the structure’s walls still endure. Today, the Avukana statue stands as a revered attraction, drawing countless visitors who marvel at its magnificence and spiritual aura.