The Buddha statue of Sasseruwa. also called Sesuruwa, is situated only 11 km west of the famous Aukana Buddha. The name “Sasseruwa” could be interpreted as the “similar statue”. The Sasseruwa Buddha statue is not as easily accessible as the Aukana statue, Sasseruwa remains to be an off the beaten track destination indeed. It belongs to an ancient cave monasterie of 99 cells dating back to the 2nd century BC. Some of them are decorated with typical Kandyan paintings from the 18th century. Today, the area is a wildlife sanctuary. To learn more about the Rasvehera monastery and holiday opportunities, please visit our Rasvehera page.
The Sasseruwa Buddha statue can be reached by climbing 300 steps. The statue is only slightly smaller than the Aukana Buddha, but it is not as spatial but connected to the rock with its entire back. The Sasseruwa statue is not completed. One ear is unfinished and the pedastal only consists of a square block of stone that remained undecorated. The workmanship of the garment looks inferior. Unlike the Aukana Buddha, the rock-cut statue of Sasseruwa was wrought in sunken relief on a large escarpment.
Popular legend has it that the two statues are the work of a master (guru) a his student (golaya). The two statues are said to be the result of a competition between these two sculptors. The story goes that the master created the Aukana statue, while his student constucted the statue at Sasseruwa. The first of them to complete his statue had to notify it to the other one by ringing a bell. They sculpted away for years until finally it was the master who managed to complete his statue first. When hearing his bell ringing in 11 km distance, the student, who lost the competition, left the Sasseruwa statue uncompleted.
There is another theory that Sasseruwa was a kind prototype of the Aukana statue carved by the same sculptor. Indeed, it is likely that the Aukana and Sasseruwa Buddhas, although they differ significantly, are from the same period, most probably the eigth century.
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