One of Sri Lanka’s most perfect and elegant statues, the Aukana Buddha lies to the west of the large Kala Wewa tank near Anuradhapura. The creation of both the temple and the tank (reservoir) is attributed to King Dhatusena in the 5th century. The statue stands 12m-high and is completely free-standing, carved from a single rock. It is an example of the Abhayamudra Buddha, showing superhuman qualities: the right-handed gesture, raised to the right shoulder with the palm spread, signifies lack of fear. The left hands position draws the worshipper to Buddha for release from their earthly bonds. The statue has gained significance in recent times due to the destruction of a similar Buddha in Afghanistan. The Aukana Buddha can be visited en route to Anuradhapura and can easily be combined with a visit to the ancient monastery site of Sasseruwa. It only takes a maximum of 45 minutes to visit the site and the nearby Kala Wewa tank is an excellent place to stop off and have a picnic in scenic surroundings.