Gal Vihara statues, ambitiously conceived and gloriously perfected according to the Oriental canons, on an abrupt boulder of dark granite about 27 meters in length and 10 meters in height at the centre and sloping towards the ends are still in perfect preservation with their irresistible charm and sublimity.
All four images hallowed out of the single massive slab, bringing to life serene facial expressions and graceful flow of the robes, are highly credible efforts to capture the boundless compassion and the infinite wisdom of Siddhartha Gauthama Buddha, the Tathagata (the one who came thus), the Omniscient. The ravages of time, rain, thunder and heat have done no harm upon the statues as if gods, the superior and resplendent beings in some other worlds have protected those for centuries.
Gal Vihara consists of four cave shrines having statues in the three postures in four cave shrines named Cave of Vijjadhara, Excavated Cave, Cave of Standing Image and Cave of Reclining Image. The sockets cut into the rock behind the statues testify that the walls had originally separated each four statue from one another. So do the ruins of the foundations of the brick walls separating the for caves.
Vijiadhdharaguha (Cave of Vijjadhara) houses a huge yet serene exquisitely carved seated Buddha statue in Dhyana Mudra framed by a Sanchi-style arch, with miniscule Bodhisattvas worshipping the supremely enlightened being from their celestial dwellings. The arch is decorated with the symbols of Mahayana symbols. The symbols include universal diamonds (Visvaraja), double lotus (Visvapadma) and the flame like symbol over the head of Buddha called Siraspata.
The Excavated Cave
The Excavated cave too houses an image of Buddha in Dhyana Mudra, yet smaller than the main image at Vijjadhara Cave. The rock-cut sedent image, 4 feet 7 inches high is seated on Padmasana (Sinhala: lotus pedestal) 3 ft high. On either side of the head of the statue are minuscule images of Brahma and Vishnu.
The Cave of Reclining Image
The space between the eyes measured one foot, the length of the nose 2 ft. 4 in., and the little finger of the hand under his head 2 feet. Now, you can guess the size of the figure: 46 feet (14 meters). In spite of the colossal proportions, the delicateness of the features are of supreme serenity and sublimity. The pillow is black rock granite yet the unknown sculptor has carved the statue of heroic propotions with such tenderness even the bolster like pillow has taken a slight depression under the head.
Cave of Standing Buddha Statue
The seven meter tall statue of supreme craftsmanship, with its eyes half-closed, arms folded, contours of the rock flowing over the face dreamily betrays a sorrowful expression. But then again, the supremely enlightened, the Omniscient, has transcended all sorrows. As such, the sorrowful expression could also be a puzzle. The elongated ears of the statue, the rightward curled clusters of hair, the Padmasana (Sinhala: double lotus pedestal) are unmistakable signs that make the scholars conclude the statue is that of Buddha himself and not of the disciple attendant Ananda, who still hadn't attained the arhathhood (Sinhala: supreme enlightenment, the state that leads to breaking free of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth upon the final extinction) grieving over the final extinction of his master.
The Reclining Image: posture of parinirvana final extinction or posture of reclining
Buddha's parinirvana (final extinction, rather than death, following the life in supreme enlightenment, braking free of the cycle of death and rebirth) seems to be indicated in part, by means of the higher foot which is slightly withdrawn: the pain caused by the last breath. Is it? Perhaps not. This posture coupled with the placing of the head resting of the right palm is called Simhaseyya (Sinhala: Lion-posture): the lion sleeps resting its head on its right paw.
"Dear Cyril, Here are some photos for you as we promised, and also little gift to you. Here is some photos of elephant boy which we were took on elephant ride. Please give to them when you go to Habarana again. We are very grateful to you for your services that you have done to make our holiday in this beautiful country. Still we are thinking over our nice trip with you. It was fantastic, really! Here in Holland, life is normal again. Greeting for your wife and daughter too. George and Cala ..." George and Cala
"We would like to say thank you very much Mr. Cyril for the excellent 7 night tour of Sri Lanka you provided us. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Sri Lanka and the itinerary you arranged. The four hotels (Earls Regency, Amaya Lake, Heritance Kandalama and the Colombo Hilton) were excellent and thoroughly deserved their 5 stars. Your driving skills was excellent. Also very friendly, calm, helpful, and courteous and always prompts. Sri Lanka is a lovely country and the people were very friendly. ..." Suresh and Prashanth
"Hi Mr.Cyril, Hope you and family and grandchild are doing fine. Hope to come to Sri Lanka again. We really enjoyed our trip especially with your special help and guidance. We will definitely contact you if at all we wish to visit Sri Lanka again. Thanks & Best Regards Mr. & Mrs.Pillai Singapore 29/7/11 " Mr & Mrs.Pillai from Singapore
"Dear Cyril, We want to thank you so much for making our trip so unforgetable and delightful. We received your name from our friends lives in Geneva who travelled with you in January 2009 and they gave you such a high recommendation that we decided to conbtact you for our two weeks trip this year. Although we have been to Sri Lanka a few times already. We have never found such an excellent driver and guide. It has been a great pleasure to visit Colombo with you and then to Koggala for two day tr..." Mr.Gabor Kato & Mrs.Ann Kato
"We had excellent 8 days tour with CYRIL TOURS. It's all credit goes to Mr. Cyril. From the welcoming at Air port to hotels we stayed,food we had and driver who was provided was excellent. We always introduce CYRIL TOURS to all who wiling to tarvel to Sri Lanka. Swaran Kaur and family Kuantan - Malaysia 2012 May 18 - 25 May" Swaran Kaur and family from Malaysia
"We had an excellent and memorable trip and all credits to Cyril. In-depth knowledge about the places, roads and history and culture. From the airport assistance - Food, accommodation provided and the vehicle was excellent. Very matured and patient, We being on safe hands. Thanks for making it a memorable experience for all of us. " Aubry De Souza and group from Dubai
"Dear Cyril, Sincerest apologies for this delayed email --- reason being that I had been extremely busy with work & travel, since returning from Sri Lanka and just got a breather now, to download our photos and catch up with private matters. Hope this email finds you & family, in the best of health & spirits. Your granddaughter must be keeping you busy and giving you & Mrs. Baddegama immense joy. At this end, we are doing fine. Nikhita is back at school, now in Grade 7 and havi..." Pradeep Kumar Menon - Singapore
"Hello my dear friend Mr. Cyril We are all fine dear, I have visited Sri Lanka and I loved the country, Insha’Allah I will visit again your country, it is amazing place. This is the first day at work , really I enjoy the tour to sri lanka with my family and it was very nice and I wish to go again to sri lanka and of course you were very good and polite and respectable guy -thanks a lot for every thing and I wish you ..." Nasser Mohamed from Oman
"Thank you so much for your great service and making our honeymoon in Sri Lanka, so special and joyful. Best regards from Yuffa and Elad Abbo – Israel- 10 July 2008 " Yuffa and Elad Abbo - Israel
"Cyril was absolutly Fantastic,Veryhelpful, Patient and extremly knowledgable. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend and travel with him again. Whole tour was well organized and perfectly done. Kate Williams and family from UK 04th January 2015" Kate Williams UK