Gal Vihara (Rock Temple)

Gal Vihara (Rock Temple)

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Gal Vihara (Rock Temple)

Gal Vihara (Rock Temple) is situated in Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. This is a Buddhist temple and a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Polonnaruwa. It is also the most perfect specimen of Buddha statue which is made out of solid stone. This was crafted during the reign of King Parakramabahu who ruled from 1153 to 1186 A.C.

About the destination

Gal Vihara (Rock Temple) is known as the “The Northern Temple”. It consists of four cave shrines which are named as the excavated cave, the cave of reclining image, cave of standing image, and cave of Vijjadharas.

In the excavated cave there are images of Buddha in Dhayana mudra which is a meditative attitude and it is sculptured out of the rock boulder. In the cave of the reclining image, there is a huge statue of reclining Buddha which is 14 meters in length. The cave of standing image has a Buddha statue which rises to 7 meters in height. In the cave of Vijjadharanas, there are five images of Dhyana Mudra which is believed to depict the embracing body of law.

History of the destination

Gal Vihara (Rock Temple) has a history that states that it has been started in a cave complex which was 27 meters in length and 10 meters in height at the center. It was built by King Parakramabahu and it was a part of the Utharama Complex. There are several beautiful Buddha statues in various positions and parts of his life.

Reaching the destination

From Colombo

Go on McCallum Road. You have to take the Colombo – Kandy Road and drive to Elahera – Giritale Road in North Central Province and turn right onto Maradankadawala- Habarana-Thirukkondaiadimadu highway. Continue on Polonnaruwa-Hingurakgoda road to reach your destination.

From Polonnaruwa

Head northwest on Maradankadawala-Habarana-Thirukkondaiadimadu Highway. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and take a slight right at 26th Mile Post onto Polonnaruwa-Hingurakgoda Road. Turn right and turn left to reach your destination.