Gal Vihara

Gal Vihara, located a few kilometers north of Polonnaruwa, is the largest sculptural masterpiece of Sri Lanka also known as the Cave of the Spirits of Knowledge. Gal Vihara images was built by King Parakramabahu I in 12th century A.D. Gal Vihara is one of the most important shrines of Buddhists, where four magnificent images of Buddha in different postures are carved out of a granite rock.

The southernmost image of Gal Vihara depicts the Buddha seated in lotus pose with his palms resting on his lap, reflecting all the tranquillity of a person deep in meditation. The next image is within a rock-cut cave where the seated Buddha is surrounded by various deities, including Brahma and Vishnu. The third figure of Gal Vihara is an unusual and rare pose of the Standing Buddha with his arms folded across his chest. The last statue is the (14 meter) figure of the reclining Buddha lying on his side with his head resting on one palm on a bolster.

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