Gal Vihara is a renowned Buddhist temple located in Sri Lanka, specifically in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. It is one of the must-visit attractions for tourists and holds great historical and religious significance. Here is some information about Gal Vihara:
Gal Vihara was built in the 12th century during the reign of King Parakramabahu I. The temple was constructed by carving granite rock, showcasing the remarkable skills of ancient Sri Lankan craftsmen. It is believed that the temple was used as a meditation site for Buddhist monks.
The main attraction of Gal Vihara is its four statues of Lord Buddha, which are carved into a single granite rock. These statues are in different postures: a standing statue, a seated statue, a reclining statue, and another seated statue with crossed legs. These statues are considered to be masterpieces of ancient Sinhalese stone carving.
Gal Vihara holds immense religious importance for Buddhists. The standing statue of Lord Buddha, known as "Samadhi Buddha," represents concentration and meditation. The seated statue symbolizes enlightenment, while the reclining statue signifies the passing away of Lord Buddha. The crossed-legged seated statue represents the posture of meditation.
Tips for tourists:
1. Dress appropriately: As Gal Vihara is a religious site, it is important to dress modestly. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.
2. Remove footwear: Before entering the temple premises, visitors are required to remove their footwear as a customary practice.
3. Maintain silence: Gal Vihara is a place of worship and meditation, so it is important to maintain a peaceful and quiet atmosphere.
4. Photography: Visitors are allowed to take photographs but should be mindful not to disturb other visitors or touch the statues.
5. Visit during weekdays: To avoid large crowds, it is advisable to visit Gal Vihara on weekdays rather than weekends or holidays.
Gal Vihara is a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts, spiritual seekers, and those interested in ancient architecture. It offers a serene and tranquil environment where visitors can immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.