Gal Viharaya (Rock Temple) at Ancient Capital of Polonnaruwa – ගල් විහාරය

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Gal Viharaya - Polonnaruwa

Gal Viharaya – Polonnaruwa

Gal Viharaya - Polonnaruwa

Gal Viharaya – Polonnaruwa

This magnificent group of statues was built by king Parakramabahu (1153-1186) which was part of the Uthararama Complex.

The first statute you will come across is a seated Buddha in meditation. He is seated on a lotus. The rock behind the statue is decorated with carvings of “vimana”. Four smaller Buddha statues can be seen on these decorations.

Next is a smaller statue of Buddha (about 15 feet high) carved in to the rock. On the sides of the statue are two deities. It is believed this carving represent the Buddhas visit to heaven called “Thusitha” to preach to his mother.

It is said that this statue was painted with pure gold and treasure hunters have burnt logs on the statue and melted the gold.

Third is a standing statue of Buddha. This has been disputed by some and think this is the statue of Ananda thero at the site of lord Buddha’s passing away. This 23 feet tall statue is thought to be done by a later king as the chronicles talk about only two statues in the seating position and one statue on the lying position which was done by King Parakramabahu (1153-1186).

Next and the last is a massive statue of Buddha passing way. This is 80 feet long. The ear lid falling along the body, One foot slightly behind the other (The toes are not positioned equally on the feet) are signs that this is not Lord Buddha resting but at his death.

Also See

Map of Gal Viharaya (Rock Temple) at Ancient Capital of  Polonnaruwa

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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 Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Route from Colombo to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Route from Kandy to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Though : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Dambulla
Distance from Colombo :220 km
Travel time : 4.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Matale - Dambulla - Habarana
Distance from Colombo : 145 km
Travel time : 3.0 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

Route from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Route from Batticaloa to Polonnaruwa Sacred City

Though : Maradankadawala - Habarana Distance from colombo : 105 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Chenkaladi - Valachchena
Distance from colombo :100 km
Travel time : 1.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

Photos before restoration from www.imagesofceylon.com

Gal Viharaya - photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

Gal Viharaya – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

Gal Viharaya - photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

Gal Viharaya – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

Gal Viharaya - photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

Gal Viharaya – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s


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