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Gal Vihare

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Gal Vihariya - 2

Ananda Thera (center) standing by Lord Buddha (partly visible at right, reclining) at Gal Vihare

The Gal Vihare is a rock temple of the Buddha situated in north-central Sri Lanka. It was constructed in Polonnaruwa in the 12th century by Parakramabahu the Great. His architects excavated the shrine and left an inscription describing their work.[1]

The central attraction of the shrine are four large statues of the Buddha, which were carved into the face of a granite boulder by Parakramabahu's architects. These include a recumbent statue of the Buddha measuring 46 ft. and a standing statue which is 23 ft. in height.[2]

There is also a standing figure on a lotus throne inside the shrine which has been identified by some historians to be that of Ananda, the Buddha's chief disciple, weeping over the recumbent figure of the Buddha who has just attained Nirvana.[1] However some, including Dr. Andreas Nell disagree, suggesting the figure is that of the Buddha, and the expression of sorrow is due to wear caused by the elements.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jones-Bateman, R (1932). An illustrated guide to the buried cities of Ceylon. Kandy: Queen's Hotel, Kandy. OCLC 363716. 
  2. "The Medieval Capital of Polonnaruwa". Sri Lanka Ministry of Tourism. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 

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