Seven miles west of Aukana there is another standing Buddha statue carved from the face of a jungle cliff - it is the Sasseruwa Buddha.
That statue, like the Aukana Buddha,is 12 metres high but whereas the Aukana statue is cut away from the
cliff face, the Sasseruwa statue is cut into it.
The statues are believed to have been carved by a master and his pupil in competition to finish first. It is said that the completion of either was to be announced by a bell being rung.
The master won the race at Aukana - and the Sasseruwa statue, standing on a plain stone pedestal at the site of an ancient cave monastery,was left unfinished.
But the achievement still inspires the visitor who has climbed the 300 steps to gaze at it across an expanse of rock.
Nearby, two cave temples are still accessible, one with a huge reclining Buddha (picture above left), and the other with extremely interesting wall and ceiling murals.
The hand gesture of the Sasseruwa Buddha differs from the 'giving the blessing' gesture of the Aukana statue - it has the 'freedom from fear' or 'fearlessness' gesture.
The monastry still has resident monks and a small school for teaching the Buddhist way of life.