The Gal Vihara also known as Gal Viharaya, is a rock temple of the Buddha situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in north-central Sri Lanka. It was constructed in the 12th century by Parakramabahu I.
At 46 feet 4 inches (14.12 m) in length, the reclining image is the largest statue in Gal Vihara, and also one of the largest sculptures in Southeast Asia. It depicts the parinirvana of the Buddha, who is lying on his right side with the right arm supporting the head on a bolster, while the left arm lies along the body and thigh. The palm of the right hand and the soles of the feet have a single lotus flower carved on them. Charles Godakumbure, a former Commissioner of the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka, has stated that the bolster upon which the Buddha rests his head has been so well carved that it looks like a cotton stuffed pillow rather than one carved from rock. The upper foot—the left foot of the image—is slightly withdrawn to indicate that the image depicts that the Buddha has attained parinirvana, and is not merely lying down.Unlike the other images, the reclining image does not have a decorated pedestal, and lies on levelled bare rock. On the wall behind the image, several sockets have been carved into the rock, as well as the remains of two stone columns, suggesting that its now missing image house had a wooden roof.
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