Gal Vihara, Polonnaruwa

4.7
#2 of 28 in Things to do in Polonnaruwa
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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551 reviews
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4.7
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  • August 17, 2017
    No matter the number of people you have around the powerful attraction that these figures make you not see anything else. The best of the entire complex.
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  • August 16, 2017
    This is part of the overall Polonnaruva site. It is a spiritual place, so follow the rules as above and no posing with the Budha's.If visiting the main site do not miss this area.  more »
  • August 16, 2017
    Gal vihara is the highlight of the Polonnaruwa visit, best to visit in the morning as the sun comes behind the statues in the afternoon. Despite the ugly sunroof, it is a must do.  more »
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  • June 11, 2017
    An ancient Buddhist religious place. There are incredible creations of three sculptures of the Lord Buddha, in a row. Magnificent carving talent is exposed with ancient cultural richness. A calm & quiet place.
  • July 1, 2017
    Ancient rock temple of Polonnaruwa built during the reign of the Great king Parakramabahu I. Three magnificent Buddha statues are carved on the same mass of rock.
  • April 14, 2017
    Best-preserved stone carvings of lord Buddha from Polonnaruwa era is located here. A small patch of paintings from that era is also visible if you look closely at the two sides of the cave with the sitting Buddah statue.
  • June 24, 2017
    Ancient religious place in Sri Lanka which shows the proud history of Sri Lanka. Buddha statutes are carved on a rock. Must visit place for every Buddhist.
  • May 1, 2017
    It's a great historical place to visit as a local or foreign tourist.and you can see the ancient Sri Lankan technology .

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Where to stay in Polonnaruwa

Famous for its UNESCO-protected and often-visited complex of ruins, Polonnaruwa caters to its visitors with dozens of guesthouses, the majority situated along Batticaloa Road. A number of mid-range and four-star hotels sit on Parakrama Samundra and the shores of Bendiwewa reservoir. Nearby Giritale village, some 7 km (4.3 mi) away, also offers nice alternatives as a rural base. A number of budget-friendly bed & breakfasts can be found near the lake.
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14 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM CROATIA December, culture, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Polonnaruwa BY A USER FROM SRI LANKA November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in Sri Lanka SEE PLAN November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM November, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM INDIA October, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM PAKISTAN September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM INDIA December, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 16 days in Sri Lanka & Male BY A USER FROM GERMANY September, culture, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 8 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM SRI LANKA October, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: October, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM INDIA October, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Sri Lanka BY A USER FROM INDIA October, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy
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