Gal Vihara: The Stone Temple of Sri Lanka; Joy Kam; Tsem Rinpoche

Sri Lanka – Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

Gal Vihara, also known as Gal Viharaya, means stone or rock temple in Sinhalese. It is a Buddhist temple situated in the second largest ancient city of Sri Lanka, in the Northern Central Province of Polonnaruwa.

The Buddha images at Gal Vihara are known to be very sacred and highly charged. Many pilgrims and visitors have experienced blessings from the images by gaining spiritual realisations and a higher level of awakening. Although Gal Vihara belonged to Theravadan Buddhism, its monuments do show clear evidence of Mahayana Buddhism’s influence from the 12th century.


The temple was built in the 12th century by King Parakramabahu I (1123 – 1186 CE), and in the beginning it was known as Uttararama or “The Northern Temple”.

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