Samadhi Buddha Statue at Anuradhapura (අනුරාධපුර සමාධි පිලිමය)

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Lying between the gigantic Abhayagiriya Stupa and the Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Ponds) belonging to the ancient Abhayagiri Monastery, the Samadhi Statue is considered one of the greatest works of sculptural art of the early period of Anuradhapura era. It is thought to be done during the 3rd or the 4th century. It is made out of dolomite marble and stands 7 feet 3 inches (2.21 meters) in height. This statue was found in the present location in 1886 fallen to the ground with damages to the nose. It was then erected and the nose was reconstructed unsuccessfully. In 1914, it was found damaged by treasure hunters and re-constructed again which still was eye sore.

The statue’s eyes are hollow indicating they were impressed with crystal or precious stones. When this area was excavated it was clear that this was one of 4 statues placed around the Bodhi tree growing here. During excavations in 1960, the Bodhighara (Bodhi tree) was discovered including an Asanagala and a Sri Pathul gala. Of the 4 seated images, the one facing north has survived. There are a few fragments of another one on the pedestal facing South. It is quite possible that the other two had been removed to another temple at a later date.

The Samadhi Statute is carved from a single rock. A thin body-hugging robe without any visible folds covering only the left folder is carved from the rock. The right leg lies over the left leg with foot palms facing upwards in the Veerasana Posture. There is no urna roma at the forehead of the Buddha but the hair is carved in snail-like curls.

It is said that when you look at the face of the statue from three sides they show 3 different features. Looking at the profile of the face from left and right they show a slight sadness and a slightly smiling face on the other. Looking from the front, the face shows neutral features.

Today this statue is covered by a concrete structure which has somewhat destroyed its beauty. Even the reconstruction of the broken nose has not been a success which looks very artificial.

Next to the Samadhi statue are ruins of an image house which is called Bodhisattva Image House. According to Mahavamsa, the Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka, it is said that King Dhatusena (459-477) built an image house for the Maithree Bodhisattva left to the Abhayagiriya Bodhi Tree Shrine and decorated with royal garments. It is believed these remains are the image house built by King Dhatusena. A limestone Bodhisattva image has been found buried in the rubble which has been dated to the 5th century.

References

  • Seneviratna, A., 1994. Ancient Anuradhapura. 1st ed. Colombo: Archaeological Survey Department, Sri Lanka.

Also See

Anuradhapura Samadhi Statue Map

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

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Driving Directions to Anuradhapura Samadhi Statue

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Bus

Anuradhapura is easily reached by bus, train or private transport. Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses start at the Colombo Fort Main Bus Station. There are luxury busses which start from various places in Colomb travelling past Anuradhapura, to Vavuniya and Jaffna. However, you need to search the web and book a seat. These luxury buses mostly travel at night reaching their final destination early in the morning.

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Train

5 daily trains are starting from Fort Railway Station to Anuradhapura. Generally, the first train leaves at 9.40 am and the last train at 8.30 pm. Travel time is 4-5 hours depending on the number of stops of the particular train.

Colombo to Anuradhapura By Car or Van

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttalam (Puttalama) and through Kurunegala. Travelling from Puttalam, you will pass the scenic Wilpattu area. There are two main routes to Anuradhapura from Kurunegala. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is through Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the most commonly used is the Kurunegala-Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura
Through : Negombo – Chilaw – Puttalam
Distance from Colombo : 210 km
Travel time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Central Expressway – Kurunegala – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo : 223 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route 03 from Colombo to AnuradhapuraRoute from Kandy to Anuradhapura
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Narammala – Wariyapola – Padeniya – Thambuthegama
Distance from Colombo :203 km
Travel Time : 4.30- 5.00 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Katugastota – Matale – Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :136 km
Travel Time : 3.5 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map

Photos before restoration from www.imagesofceylon.com


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