Polonnaruwa Gal Viharaya (Polonnaruwa rock monastery) is a Buddhist temple located in Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa also known as Pulathisipura and Vijayarajapura in ancient times and its located north central province, Sri Lanka. Originally this rock monastery was known as “Uttararama” in the ancient times which means “Northern Monastery”. It is one of must visit historical sites in the country, known for its stunning rock sculptures and ancient architecture. Sri Lanka is much famous for creations from rocks, one of another famous place from Sri Lanka is “Sigiriya“. Polonnaruwa was once the capital of Sri Lanka during the 11th and 12th centuries, and as the old history documents Gal Viharaya was built during this time by King Parakramabahu.
The Polonnaruwa Gal Viharaya is part of ancient capital and if you visited once you will be able to see lot of other ancient structures nearby. This temple consists of four impressive Buddha statues carved into a one single granite rock. Each statue represents a different gesture, and together they showcase the unique artistic and architectural style of the time. The largest statue is 46 feet in length and depicts Buddha in the seated position with a serene expression on his face. The other three statues depict Buddha in the standing, reclining, and meditating positions respectively.
The intricate details on the statues are a testament to the craftsmanship of the artists who created them. The clothing and accessories worn by the Buddha statues are intricately carved and show the attention to detail that was given to each piece. at the time they were crafting this statues they must had good technology to soften the rock to achieve the details of the craft. The facial expressions on each statue convey different emotions, from peace and tranquility to compassion and wisdom.
The Gal Viharaya is important place for Buddhist in Sri Lanka. the site always have some buddhist gathering to warship and its required to remove their shoes and caps or any other headwear before entering this ancient site. as explained above this site is not just this rock temple. its a complex including other important structures such as a stupa and a monastery.
In addition to its historical and religious significance, the Gal Viharaya is also a symbol of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage. The intricate carvings and attention to detail on the statues showcase the unique artistic style of the time, and the temple complex as a whole is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the people who built it.
Overall, the Polonnaruwa Gal Viharaya is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Sri Lanka’s rich history and culture. The stunning rock sculptures, intricate details, and impressive architecture make it one of the most unique and memorable sites in the country. Whether you are a history buff, a cultural enthusiast, or a spiritual seeker, a visit to the Gal Viharaya is sure to be an unforgettable experience.