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, We are fortunate to have you as a friend here in Sri Lanka. You are extremly Knowledgeable and more than ever - having an attitude of helpful nature and the willingness to solve issues on hand whilst on our tour around Sri Lanka. As I have said to you we will reccommend you to all our friends who wish to tour in Sri Lanka. My family Karen, Kalvin and Andre also liked your company and wish you and your family well. God bless you all and we will keep in touch, for sur..." Alwyn Santhumayor & family
"Dear Cyril, Thanks for taking care of the Dr.Sethukavalar and his wife very well. They were indeed very happy for all the care you have shown during your tour. They were very impressed of your patience and kindness. I look forward to see you soon and maintain this good relationship we have developed in a short period of time. We will not hesitate a second to recommend you to all our friends who would like to visit Sri Lanka. Taking this opportunity of wishing you all the best. Thanks fo..." HARIDAS KANDASAMY
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"We are an older couple celebrating a lot of years of marriage (and hiking) in Sri Lanka in February this year, for two weeks, and three days in the Maldives. Although we love to drive, we chose to go with a driver-guide, after planning the trip completely independently. (It turned out he might help us in the planning and selection of hotels, we own). The main advantage is reaching the sites, some of which are tired, refreshed after someone else used to bad roads, with bad signage - If you are i..." Sam
"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
"Cyril was our driver and guide for the last nine days. We had the comfortable white Toyota van shown in the pic - it was just as clean and shiny, and not a scratch on it. He is clearly a very skilled driver. He is particularly knowledgeable about the history of the many places we visited. We were pleased we had Cyril as our driver. He had been recommended to us by an acquaintance. Andrew Speirs Melbourne, Australia Travel period 04 Jan - 12 Jan 2018" Mr. Andrew an Mrs. Suzy Speirs from Australia
"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
"Thank you so much Cyril for guiding us around your beautiful country. We thoroughly enjoyed our time which was made particularly special by your professionalism, enthusiasm and friendliness. We wish you all the best in the future. Warm regards from, Aonghus O'Keefee and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland " Aonghus and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland
"We had a trip planned with Cyril just when international travel closed down due to Covid. Cyril was great in planning a trip with me that had a great deal of flexibility and tailored to visit the places we wanted to seeUnfortunately we were unable to take the trip. Cyril's response to that was great, he dealt with everything for us in terms of cancellationsHe has kept in touch with us since then and has already contacted me with a revised plan for our trip to Sri Lanka. Which we will book with h..." Brian O: Keefe - Perth - Australia
"Dear Cyril, Yes that's the one that we were calling all the time. Her name is Celia and by now she has a little sister. My dear Cyril, of course we can't forget your companion and we are always telling about you when we are talking about our trip to Sri Lanka. I wish you good luck with your company and I hope that you will have whatever you want. I want to tell also that I was very happy when I learned that you are a grandfather now. Best regards, Chris Greece 26/07/2011" Cristos Pravitas - Greece