1. Aukana Statue Replica / BMICH

  • 1. Aukana Statue Replica/ BMICH

So lets get started!

The standing Buddha statue you see here is a replica of the Avukana Buddha statue, near Anuradhapura.

The original was carved out during the 5th century, out of a large granite rock face, an impressive example of the skill and craftsmanship of the time. The statue stands at a height of more than 46 feet and depicts a variation of the Abhaya mudra.

Legend has it, that it was carved as part of a competition between master and pupil. The story goes that the master, named Barana, constructed the Avukana statue, while the pupil made a statue at Sasseruwa. The first to complete his statue was to declare his victory by ringing a bell. The master of course, completed his statue first and rang the bell, winning the competition. Hearing the bell, the pupil had stopped his carving, which is said to explain why the Sasseruwa statue is unfinished.

It’s a nice story, however carbon dating has shown that the Sasseruwa statue was built nearly four hundred years before the one in Avukana, bringing into question the legend.

On the opposite side of the Road you can see the B M I C H, which was a gift, from the Government of China, to honour the memory of S W R D Bandaranaike, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister from 1956 to 1959. As Prime Minister Bandaranaike, was instrumental in many programs for the good of the country, however the one act he is most remembered for, is his implementation of a law, which made Sinhala the country’s sole official language. This marginalised the minorities, and has often been cited as a key factor in Sri Lanka's communal tensions.

His leadership ended four years into his term, when he was shot, by Talduwe Somarama, a Buddhist monk. It is ironic, that although Bandaranaike's administration suspended capital punishment, the monk who was found guilty, was hanged on the 6th of July 1962.

Soon after his death, his wife Siri-marvo Bandaranaike stepped up to the challenges of leading the country, becoming the first female Prime Minister in the world.

To continue the tour, proceed to stop 2, when the audio starts playing, please find a safe place to stop and listen to the audio.