Gal Vihara, Polonnaruwa Sri-Lanka

15 Kiri Vihara is just ahead of Lankatilaka. The milk-white shrine was named Kiri Vehera (Sinhala: Milk coloured stupa) for its exterior of gleaming white.

Kiri Vihara Stupa, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Kiri Vihara Stupa, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

This large stupa, lying north of Lankathilaka is said to be built by a queen of king Parakramabahu (1153-1186) called “Subadra”. The original name of this has been “Rupavathi Stupa”. This stupa is also the second biggest stupa in Polonnaruwa today. Also it is the only stupa to survive the 900 years of forces of nature and still is in the original condition.

Photos around Kiri Vihara.

Photos around Kiri Vihara.

There are many restored smaller stupas around Kiri Vehera. These have been identified as burial chambers of high priests and royals. Many of these including Kiri Vehera stupa have been attacked by treasure hunters and their valuables were ransacked.

After the Kiri Vihara Stupa, left for Gal Vihara on foot.

Going through a narrow alley to the Gal Vihara.

Going through a narrow alley to the Gal Vihara.

Scenery on the way from the Kiri vihara to the Gal vihara.

Scenery on the way from the Kiri vihara to the Gal vihara.

Walking about five minutes from the Lankatilaka Vihara, it got to the Gal Vihara.

13 Gal Vihara (also known as the Uttararama) is a rock temple of the Buddha situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. It was built by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.

 Gal Vihara Polonnaruwa

Gal Vihara Polonnaruwa

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Sitting Buddha image and the central altar of the Gal Vihara

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The standing and reclining images of Buddha

Main characteristic of the temple is four images of the Buddha, which have been carved into the face of a large granite rock.

The Buddha seated image, which depicts the Zen sitting and a  woman who prays.

The seated Buddha image, which depicts the Zen sitting and a woman who prays.

The Buddha standing image depicts an unusual mudra (gesture of the finger)

The Buddha standing image depicts an unusual mudra (gesture of the finger)

The reclining Buddha image, which depicts the Buddha's parinirvana (nirvana-after-death), is the largest in Gal Vihara.

The reclining Buddha image, which depicts the Buddha’s parinirvana (nirvana-after-death), is the largest in Gal Vihara.

Central Altar of Gal Vihara Polonnaruwa

Central Altar of Gal Vihara Polonnaruwa

The altar was carved out of the granite rock and set in the artificial cave.

A small statue called "Vidyhadhara Guha" in the altar.

A small statue called “Vidyhadhara Guha” in the altar.

These four images are considered to be some of the best examples of ancient Sinhalese sculpting and carving arts, and have made the Gal Vihara the most visited monument at Polonnaruwa.

Getting back through the edge of a pond

Getting back through the edge of a pond

Birds on this area; White-throated Kingfisher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, White-bellied Drongo and Indian myna.

Birds on this area; White-throated Kingfisher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, White-bellied Drongo and Indian myna.

Flora around the Gal Vihara, I do not know about the plants at all.

Flora around the Gal Vihara, I do not know about the plants at all.

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