Photographer's Note

When I lay my burden down...


The reclining buddha is an iconic image in buddhist art. It shows buddha lying down and entering nirvana, symbolizing the final end of longing and suffering.

This picture shows one of the most famous historical artworks from Sri Lanka and features lots of very typical


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.

The central feature of the shrine are four images of the Buddha, which have been carved into the face of a large granite rock. The images consist of a large seated figure, another, smaller seated figure inside an artificial cavern, and standing figure and a reclining figure (of which you see a detail here).

At more than 14m 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.

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.



(And, yes, that deep purple reference is fully intended.)

SnapRJW, williewhistler, gildasjan trouve(nt) cette note utile

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2927 W: 35 N: 6382] (33294)
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