Kuda Gal Viharaya at Polonnaruwa Ancient City – කුඩා ගල් විහාරය

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The two caves of Kuda Gal Viharaya

The two caves of Kuda Gal Viharaya

On the east to the Badda Sema Malakaya you can see a cave with a carved statues of Buddha. This known as the Kuda Gal Viharaya or the Lesser Rock Temple. On the steel identification board at the site it will be identified as Cave Shrine (Guha Viharaya).

The reason for identifying this cave as the Lesser Gal Viharaya due to the 4 Buddha statues caved in the rock on the larger cave inside this miniature shrine.  Unfortunately heads of the all but statues have been destroyed probably by treasure hunters. Only the last statue is complete.

The second cave even smaller than the first lies just 2-3 meters away. Whatever the statues which had been at this cave has long disappeared.

Locating this caves are not easy. Although close the main tourist route, no path or directions exists. To reach the temple travel along the main pilgrim path until the Badda Seema Malakaya lies right on your left. From here walk across the ruins path towards the Malakaya and you will come across this cave shrine just before reaching the Malakaya.

Also See

Map of Kuda Gal Viharaya 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.

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.


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

Kuda Gal Viharaya – 2 – කුඩා ගල් විහාරය

by Kishanie S. Fernando

Daily Mirror

December 06, 2004
kuda gal viharaya

Entrance to the Kuda Gal Vihara

Comfortably hidden amongst the many terraces that surround the Baddhasima Pasada is a small shallow cave which has recently been identified as the Kuda Gal Vihara. Strangely it seems to bear little resemblance to the Gal Vihara which is only a short distance away from it. Visitors hardly come here.

When we came across it, quite by accident, we were surprised and delighted. It had its own charm by its very solitariness. The cave seemed to nestle cozily in its surroundings.

Away from the well trodden paths of the pilgrims. Away from their flower offerings, incense sticks, petitions and prayers.

The cave was roughly hewn and possibly incomplete The images of the Lord Buddha inside were comparable to those at the Gal Vihara.. A few faded wild flowers languished beside them.

Some thoughtful pilgrim may have felt the neglect of the shrine. Perhaps, like us, he would have first visited the Gal Vihara teeming with pilgrims and camera clicking tourists who offered the best of flowers sold by little boys along the well defined path that led to that site.

There was no one here. Like us, he too may have felt the holiness of these environs and its sad abandonment. Like us he may have sat and mused on the difference that seemed too obvious; a harsh reality. What made so many thousands worship at the Gal Vihara?

Perhaps, like us, this other pilgrim too would not have wanted to leave the quiet peace that pervaded these surroundings – resting his tired limbs, sitting undisturbed on a grassy terrace with only the big trees that gave shade to the little forgotten cave and the unique silence that accompanies the fading of day. Maybe like us he would have waited till the end of the day and gone homewards with a peaceful heart after experiencing a perfect evening. But he had preceded us.

Unfortunately when we quite accidentally stumbled on this cave it was quite late in the afternoon and the fading light held little concern for us to perfect our pictures. But what’s a picture compared to the solace you can enjoy in the quit moments ? Yes, sometimes I wish the camera was not invented. But that’s only sometimes, mind you!

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Posted in Heritage, Polonnaruwa Tagged with: ,