Gal (g-u-ll) viharaya is one of the remaining relics of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. It was built by King Parakramabahu the great during (1153-1186 AD) as Uttararama. In this fascinating archaeological site, you will encounter the beautiful statues of Lord Buddha. There are 3 statues of Lord Buddha.
The first image you will see is of Lord Buddha seated in the meditation position on a lotus and behind, you will see the detailed sculpt work that represents “vimana” which means the mythological flying palaces or chariots. The second statue is a smaller version of lord buddha that is just 15 feet tall and the background detailed artwork of “Thusitha” which means the lord buddha’s visit to heaven to preach his mother.
In the ancient day’s the importance of the religion was represented with the statues that were painted in gold. However, treasure hunters have burnt logs on the statue and melted the gold. The third is the 23ft standing statue of Lord Buddha that is thought to be the statue of Ananda Thero at the site of lord buddha’s attaining Nibbana. The next is the last 80 feet tall of lord buddhas parnirvana which is represented by the resting position. The sculpture indicates lord Buddha’s death by showing his toes are not positioned equally.
How to get there
To distance to gal viharaya from Polonnaruwa city is about 4.8 km. Head northwest on the A11 (Colombo road) toward Janapada Mawatha. Follow along the road until you reach Gallambarawa road. [Google Maps Directions].
Tips to visit
The gal viharaya in Polonnaruwa is a religious place and you have to be very quiet when entering the site. Polonnaruwa is usually dry and hot, which is why it is essential to have sun prevention accessories. Don’t forget socks! Since you need to remove your shoes you need to wear socks because the flow is really hot. You must make sure it is vital to have clothing that covers your knees and shoulders due to religious reasons.
- No photography is allowed to be taken in the site
- Ticket prices (Foreigners only): USD 25
- Opening hours : 7:30 am- 6:00 pm daily