Galviharaya (Rock Temple) is one of the excellent creation which can be seen in Polonnaruwa. The Buddha Statues created in rock are simply amazing. The statues are the main attraction of this place. According to the great chronicles in Sri Lanka such as Chulawamsha, says Galvihara as wonderful archeological setting at Polonnaruwa constructed by King Parakrambahu the extreme king of the Sinhalese Buddhist Nation. Gal Vihara statues are created using best rock material. The 4 important feature of Gal Vihara are images of the Buddha created on a large brickwork rock face thus they are believed to be the ideal examples of the rock carving and sculpting arts of the early Sinhalese. Almost 15 feet (4.6 m) deep cut is there on the rock to create a rock face to hold the images. You will see why this temple is visited by thousands of people throughout the year. Three of the statues are relatively large; the smallest of them is more than 15 feet and the largest is long more than 46 feet. The four statues are as follows
Seated statue shows the Dhyana Mudra and the seat was fixed in the shape of a lotus flower by carving the rock, its base is also filled with decorated carvings of flowers and lions. The statue sits on a carved throne, Makara images can be seen there as decorations with four small images of the Buddha. This is an unusual characteristic in early Sinhalese sculpture, and is most likely the result of Mahayana impacts.
Statue in Vidyadara Cave is the other statue which is in Gal Viharaya. Statue is rather small statue with only 4 feet 7 inches in height, but alike in look to its bigger fellow statue. This is located inside the mock Cave named the Vijjadhara Guha. This cave has been created by cutting 4.5 feet into the rock; there are four square shafted stone columns at the sides of the statue. The support of the lotus shaped seat of the Buddha image here is also decorated with designs of lions. Archologist H. C. P. Bell stresses that God Brahma is on the right side and the God Vishnu is on the left side of the statue. The walls of the cave remain the evidence of decorating frescoes.
Standing statue is somewhat controversial creation as there are few arguments that it is not a Buddha statue, since the statue is having a sad appearance and also the reclining Buddha Statue is next to it, it is argued that this statue is of Ananda Thero weeping over the death of the great Lord Buddha. But, some believes that this is a Buddha Statue with a rare mudra which is not commonly used in the Ceylonese art.Some believes this is a Buddha Statue and denoting Great Lord Buddha is spending the second week after the Enlightenment paying gratitude by looking at the Bodhi tree for providing the roof during the effort of getting in to Enlightenment.
Reclining Statue is the largest statue of the Gal Vihara. This statue is one of the greatest art work not only in Sri Lanka but also in whole South Asia. The statue symbolizes the Parinirwana of the Great Lord Buddha. There is no any decoration or artwork in the base of the Statue. The statues in the Gal Vihara are not something to be missed by anyone who visits Polonnaruwa. You will be surprised witnessing them about the art and the Buddhist culture prevailed during Sinhala royal periods. The maturity, decency, technology and creativity Sri Lankan were having those days can be understood by you well.