Gal Vihara (Rock Temple) the most impressive sculptures found at Polonnaruwa - Sri Lanka
Polonnaruwa Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
The Gal Viharaya (rock temple) and the statue of one of Polonnaruwa's great kings, Parakramabahu, are a few of this capital's memorable sights. This time I have managed to visit this facinating archeological place after long time.
Among many sites my favourite site was the Gal Vihara (Rock Temple).For my eyes they are the truly most beautiful Buddha images in Sri Lanka . Four images of different sizes are carved out of a cliff about 56 yards long and falls away gradually at each end.
First Statue-(Sitting Statue)
When you entering to the site your eyes come across the first Buddha statue the sitting image is 15 ft. high and sits on a low pedestal in the front of which are niches containing lions and crossed vajras showing the lingering influence of Tantric Buddhism.
Second Statue- (Statue inside the cave)
Next to the first is a cave with pillars carved into the cliff. In the middle of the cave is a high throne with a Buddha image on it flanked by two devas.
Third Statue-(Standing )
Next to the cave is a standing 23ft. tall Buddha with its arms crossed in front of it, one of the few Buddha images depicted like this Because of this unusual hand gesture some have speculated that this is not an image of the Buddha but of Ananda thera grieving for his master about to pass into final Nirvana. This image has a particularly benign and peaceful face.I coundn't take my eyes away from this amazing image for long time.
Right next to this is a reclining Buddha which 46 ft. long, a masterpiece of the sculptor’s art.This shows Buddha in the lion posture (sihasana) just as he attained final Nirvana.He rests his head on an elaborately decorated cylindercal pillow. Walking to the far end of this image the pilgrim will notice that the soles of the Buddha's feet are covered with auspicious marks.
These are truly amazing four Buddha figures manage to convey an emotional power while sustaining the most exquisite serenity. The Liquid flow of the robes and the calmfacial expressions are interpreted the skills of ancient time.
The next place I visited was the beautifully carved statue stands 11½ feet (3.5 metres) in height and carved in to a semi-circular rock. Popular belief is that this is the statue of king Parakrambabahu (1153-1186). This also shows the highest level of craftsmanship of the rock carving engineers of that time.
Sadly I had to shorten my visit only to these two places in Polonnaruwa because of the limited time.