Gal Viharaya (Rock Temple)
This magnificent group of staues was built by king Parakramabahu (1153-1186) and was a part of the Uthararama.
The first statue you will come across is a seated Buddha in meditation. He is seated on a lotus. The rock behind the statue is decorated with carvings of "vimana". Four smaller Buddha statues can be seen on these decorations.
Next is a smaller statue of Buddha (about 15 feet high) carved in to the rock. On the sides of the statue are two deities. It is believed this carving represent the Buddhas visit to heaven called “Thusitha” to preach to his mother.
It is said that this statue was painted with pure gold and treasure hunters have burnt logs on the statue and melted the gold.
Third is a standing statue of Buddha. This has been disputed by some and think this is the statue of Ananda thero at the site of lord Buddha’s passing away. This 23 feet tall statue is thought to be done by a later king as the chronicles talk about only two statues in the seating position and one statue on the lying position which was done by King Parakramabahu (1153-1186).
Next and the last is a massive statue of Buddha passing way. This is 80 feet long. The ear lid falling along the body, One foot slightly behind the other (The toes are not positioned equally on the feet) are sighs that this is not Lord Buddha resting but at his death.
Photos before restoration from www.imagesofceylon.com
February 11, 2007