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Gal Vihara, Polonnaruwa
(4.7/5 based on 400+ reviews on the web)
Discover the fascinating 12th-century rock temple of the Buddha at Gal Vihara. The temple houses four beautiful statues of the Buddha, all carved from the same, single piece of granite. Admire the statues, which demonstrate some of the finest examples of Sinhalese rock carving. Wander around the temple and admire the standing Buddha, which measures 7m (23 ft) in height. However, unique features on this statue have led to heavy speculation that it could depict not the Buddha, but in fact one of his disciples, Ananda. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you appreciate the three other statues in the temple; the seated Buddha, the reclining Buddha, and Vidyhadhara Guha. Shoes are forbidden within the site, so bring some socks to walk across the sometimes hot ground. Plan to see Gal Vihara and other attractions that appeal to you using our Polonnaruwa travel itinerary planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • One of the best things to see in the archaeological complex, 3 Buddhas, each in a different position.
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  • Superb and impressive site with these three great Buddhas (sitting, standing and lying). Too bad the roof of protection is hardly aesthetic! But necessary for protection. A cavity holds a last Buddha in a temple. Quick tour, zen atmosphere, the Sri Lankans are bring offerings. See, ride fast and relaxing.
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  • Wonderful site with these three gigantic Buddhas (sitting, standing and lying). Pity that all protecting them is hardly aesthetic.
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Google
  • The Gal Vihara (Sinhalese: ගල් විහාරය), also known as Gal Viharaya and originally as the Uttararama, is a rock temple of the Buddha situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. It was fashioned in the 12th century by Parakramabahu I. The central feature of the temple is four rock relief statues of the Buddha, which have been carved into the face of a large granite rock. The images consist of a large seated figure, another smaller seated figure inside an artificial cavern, a standing figure and a reclining figure. These are considered to be some of the best examples of ancient Sinhalese sculpting and carving arts, and have made the Gal Vihara the most visited monument at Polonnaruwa. The images of Uttararama follow a different style from the images of the previous Anuradhapura period, and show some significant differences. The identity of the standing image is subject to a certain amount of dispute among historians and archaeologists, some of whom argue that it depicts the monk Ananda rather than the Buddha. Each of the images have been carved in a way that uses a maximum possible area of the rock, and their heights seem to have been decided based on the height of the rock itself. Each statue appears to have had its own image house, as indicated by the remains of brick walls at the site. The Uttararama was where Parakramabahu I held a congregation of monks to purify the Buddhist priesthood, and later drew up a code of conduct for them. This code of conduct has been recorded in an inscription on the same rock face containing the images of the Buddha.
  • One of the most ancient Temples in Sri Lanaka which belongs to the Polonnaruwa Era.Stone carved statues are quite mesmerizing , and you won't see such a creation in any part of Sri Lanka. Environment conditions will be bit hard (depending on the Season) ,but it's pretty much worth your while. And do beware of Macaque since they are pretty capable of snatching your valueless. And do not feed them.
  • Its amazing how smooth they carved giant harsh rock like this.. ever little detail is perfect.
  • The ancient Gal VIharaya was founded in 12th Century and as per the history the founder was King I Parakramabahu.The temple is of four rock relief statues of the Buddha and they are carved into the face of a large granite rock. The images consist of a large seated figure, another smaller seated figure inside an artificial cavern, a standing figure and a reclining figure.
  • Ancient temple in sri lanka