Are you interested in embarking on unforgettable Sri Lanka tours? If you’re eager to admire the beautiful stone sculptures of ancient Sri Lankan civilization, delve into the rich history and Buddhist culture of this remarkable country, and experience an exciting and meaningful trip, then you cannot miss Gal Viharaya. This famous stone temple is located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the cultural and historical treasures of Sri Lanka during their tours.
Introduction about Gal Viharaya also known as Gal Viharaya or Uttararama
Gal Viharaya is a Buddhist temple built in the 12th century by King Parakramabahu I. The temple’s notable features are four Buddha statues carved on the face of a rock. Large granite. The four statues include a large sitting statue, a small sitting statue in an artificial cave, a standing statue, and a lying statue. These statues are considered among the finest examples of ancient Sinhalese carving and sculpture and have made Gal Viharaya the most visited monument in Polonnaruwa.
The right time to visit Gal Viharaya is to enjoy everything the place has to offer.
– If you want to avoid crowds, you should go to Gal Viharaya in the early morning or late afternoon, when there are fewer tourists. You can also participate in the prayer rituals of local people here.
– If you want to admire the beauty of the Buddha statues, you should go to Gal Viharaya around mid-day, when the sunlight shines on them. You will feel the majesty and purity of the statues.
– If you want to explore the history and culture of Gal Viharaya, you should go to Gal Viharaya at any time of the year, but it is recommended to hire a guide to better understand the meaning and origin of the statues. You can also learn more about the lives and activities of Buddhist monks here.
Gal Viharaya’s location brings many advantages for tourists to visit.
– Gal Viharaya is located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, North Central Province, Sri Lanka. This is one of the world heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.
– To get to Gal Viharaya, you can take a bus, motorbike, or bicycle from Polonnaruwa center. The distance is about 10 km. You can also rent a taxi or a motorbike taxi to save time and money.
– Apart from Gal Viharaya, you can also visit other tourist attractions in Polonnaruwa, such as the Royal Palace, Thuparama Temple, Rankot Vihara Temple, and Parakrama Samudra Lake.
Is Gal Viharaya only famous for having four Buddha statues carved on the face of a giant granite rock, and what else?
The temple is famous for having four Buddha statues carved on the face of a giant granite rock. These four statues represent four different postures of Buddha, symbolizing different stages in his life. The four statues are considered among the finest ancient Sinhalese carvings and sculptures and are the most popular tourist attractions in Polonnaruwa. In addition, Gal Viharaya is also where King Parakramabahu I held a council of monks to purify the Buddhist sect and then issued a code of conduct for them. This set of rules is recorded on the same rock face containing images of Buddha. This is a precious cultural and religious heritage of Sri Lanka.
The statues of Gal Viharaya are stylistically distinct from those of the earlier Anuradhapura period and exhibit some notable differences. The identity of the standing statue is a matter of debate among historians and archaeologists, some of whom claim that it depicts the Bhikkhu Ananda instead of the Buddha. Each statue was carved in such a way as to use the largest possible area of the rock, and their height appears to have been determined based on the height of the rock itself. Each statue appears to have had its chapel, as indicated by the remains of brick walls at the site. Gal Viharaya is where King Parakramabahu I held a council of monks to purify the Buddhist sect and then issued a code of conduct for them. This set of rules was recorded in an inscription on the same rock face containing the Buddha statues.
Ticket prices and hotels for world tourists visiting Gal Viharaya
– To visit Gal Viharaya, you need to buy an entrance ticket to the city of Polonnaruwa, where there are many other monuments. The ticket price is 3,900 – 4,500 LKR (about 19 – 22 USD) depending on time. You can buy tickets directly at the counter or reserve online.
– If you want to stay in Polonnaruwa to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the old city, you can choose one of the many hotels near Gal Viharaya. Room prices range from 3 – 35 USD per night, depending on the hotel’s standards and services. You can search and book rooms through sites like Booking.com or Tripadvisor.
Interesting experiences at places to visit in Gal Viharaya
– When you arrive at Gal Viharaya, you will be impressed by four Buddha statues carved on a large rock. Each statue has a different size, appearance, and expression, representing stages of Buddha’s life and teachings. You can admire the majesty, serenity, and mystery of the statues, as well as learn about their meaning and origin through information signs or tour guides.
– Apart from Gal Viharaya, you can also visit other tourist attractions in Polonnaruwa, such as the Royal Palace, Thuparama Temple, Rankot Vihara Temple, and Parakrama Samudra Lake. You’ll see ancient architecture, witness Sri Lanka’s cultural and historical heritage, and enjoy beautiful natural landscapes.
– If you want to have close experiences with local people, you can participate in prayer rituals, learn about their customs and cuisine, or rent a bicycle to walk around the city. city. You will feel the hospitality, friendliness, and joy of Sri Lankans.
To visit Gal Viharaya, you can choose one of the following means of transport
– By air: You can fly from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, with ticket prices ranging from 300 USD to 500 USD for one way. From Colombo, you can rent a car or take a bus to Polonnaruwa, about 220 km away with a travel time of about 5 hours. Car rental prices range from 50 USD to 100 USD per day, while bus fares are about 3 USD per trip. From Polonnaruwa, you can walk or cycle to Gal Viharaya, about 5 km away.
– By boat: You can take a train from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Colombo, with ticket prices ranging from 200 USD to 400 USD for one way. However, the travel time will be very long, about 10 to 15 days. From Colombo, you can travel the same way by air to reach Polonnaruwa and Gal Viharaya.
– By car or motorbike: You can drive from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, then to Indonesia and Sri Lanka by ferry. However, this is a very risky and expensive way, because you have to cross many borders and pay high fees. In addition, you also have to bear many security and traffic safety risks. Therefore, we do not recommend that you choose this method.
Gal Viharaya is an ideal destination for those who love Sri Lankan Art and culture.
You will see majestic and exquisite Buddha statues, learn about the history and Buddhist teachings of this country, and experience a meaningful and intellectual trip. If you want to explore more attractions in Polonnaruwa, you can visit Polonnaruwa Vatadage – an ancient structure with unique stone columns and domes; Kumara Pokuna – a royal bath with a sophisticated drainage system; or Sigiriya Rock Fortress – a majestic rock fortress with famous murals.
Let Gal Viharaya be one of your stops when traveling to Sri Lanka. You will not regret choosing this place as your destination. Contact us for more information and book your tickets today: Sri Lankan Local Tours.