Gal Vihara
Points of Interest & LandmarksMonuments & Statues
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles858 reviews
Excellent
599
Very good
209
Average
43
Poor
4
Terrible
3

Skeney57
Sydney, Australia24,410 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
While the medieval capital gets all the attention this site is worthy of it's own story.
An eclectic collection of Buddha's and some ancient paintings in a protected alcove make this a very interesting visit. The rock carvings are extremely well done & the site has an eerie feeling to it, very respectful & quiet !
Written April 9, 2020
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Terry M
Hamilton, Canada4,896 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Possibly the best Sinhalese rock carvings, the area is part of the northern monastery of Parakramabahu I. The separate images are all cut from one very long piece of granite. There are sculptures of the Buddha in deep meditation, one inside a cave, the standing Buddha [7m/23’] with crossed arms and the recumbent Buddha [14m, 46’], entering Parinibbana, the state of supreme enlightenment. The Gal Vihera was seen last on our tour of Polonnawura, the site ending on a clear high note.
Written February 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dianedinky
Dunfermline, UK1,353 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
I'm ashamed to admit I only wanted to go here because I love the Save A Prayer video (Duran Duran fans will be with me here)! However, forget the 80s nostalgia element, this is an awesome temple complex. The statues are massive but beautifully done, and one of the few temples I've visited on travels recently that doesn't have a zillion steps to it so that was a bonus for the old legs. It looks pretty much the same as the 1982 video save for a roof to protect the rock. Go for the amazing sight and the history though, not for following your teenage pop dream :-)
Written February 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

prashant v
New Delhi, India15 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2019
some what ruined by the ugly structure, put up to protect them. That said the 3 statues in sitting, standing and reclining meditation are the best on the island and should be a place for quite contemplation. Remember this a scared religious site and you should dress appropriately.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janka K
Brno, Czech Republic8,168 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022 • Couples
Active Buddhist place. You need to have covered your knees to enter the place. If you don't the stuff will force some big scarf on you and you will pay a small fee and a donation to the place afterwards. You also need to enter the place barefoot so your shoes will be left out at the entrance, behind the fence.
I liked the small branches put under the giant rocks at the place. It's not a part of the place itself, but it's something that people do in a symbolic way to get a support in a time of need in their life.
It's not possible to take the pictures of the place when you are behind the entrance point, since it's not polite to stand with your back towards Buddha. But it's possible to take the pictures of the place when you are behind the small fence that surrounds the place. Everybody does that and at the same time, the people working at the place don't mind. Because of that, the regulation not to take pictures of the place don't make much sense to me.
The tickets needs to be purchased at the ticket office of Archeological museum in Polonnaruwa.
Written April 2, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alan C
Hong Kong, China366 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Couples
Our guide advised that this was his favourite site in Polonnaruwa and I would not disagree with him. Beautifully carved Buddha statutes in a very pleasant setting, which additionally was very tranquil at the time of our visit. I would imagine not always the case.
Written October 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

selvakumar2015
Chennai (Madras), India1,023 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022 • Solo
Ancient well preserved statues of Lord Buddha in the second significant ancient capital of Sri Lanka.
The statues of Lord Buddha exquisitely carved in granite are awe inspiring.
Considered as a sacred temple by many bhuddists, the temple is a must visit while in pulanaruva.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country to visit not only for the many tourist attractions but also by the genuine warmth of the people.

A beautiful place to meditate and contemplate.
Written October 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fer
Colmenar Viejo, Spain2,819 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
The Gal Vihara, and originally as the Uttararama, is a rock temple of the Buddha. It was fashioned in the 12th century by Parakramabahu I.
The central feature of the temple is four rock relief statues of the Buddha, which have been carved into the face of a large granitic (granite gneiss) rock.
These are some of the best examples of ancient Sinhalese sculpting and carving arts and have made the Gal Vihara the most visited monument at Polonnaruwa.
Written February 27, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Piaget_13
Adelaide, Australia6 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2013 • Couples
I was appauled by the enterance gate people. I was in the car with my husband and his family who are locals. we were trying to enter and when they saw my skin they stopped the car and said I had to pay, everyone else in the car was Free of charge, and although I was married to a Sri Lankan I was charged $32 because of my colour.

I was so offended we turned straight around, although all sights in Sri Lanka charge tourist prices, this is too steep and not fair. Its more expensive to look at a rock then to visit and feed elephants. where is the line?

Could be a good sight, Im not sure but the price, I will warn all forigners is a steep price.
Written July 26, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jacob F
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK57 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Friends
Three large Statues carved from single rock; really incredible workman ship.

My father visited over 40 years ago and recommended I visited too; it did not disappoint.

I stayed a little longer than most, I’d suggest doing the same to really see how much work, time and skill went into creating them.
Written June 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Gal Vihara - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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