To get to Hindagala take the Galaha road that runs through the University complex. The viharaya is situated at the base of a mighty rock boulder and the walk up the rock strewn pathway is a delightful entrance..It is believed that as a rock temple its history goes back to a very early period. However the existing Viharaya belongs to the Kandyan period.
Within the cave is a large recumbent image of the Lord Buddha and several standing figure. At one end of the cave is a small dagoba. The overhanging rock which forms the roof shows some interesting paintings. While on the outside over the viharaya small parts of the original paintings still can be made out. These have been compared to the the paintings at Sigiriya. in the pigments used and the techniques followed. These paintings are believed to belong to the same period as Sigiriya (5th -6th centuries) The painting here shows the scene of a visit of Indra (Sakra) to the Buddha in the cave of Indrasala.
Professor Paranavitna believes that because of this depiction of the Buddha in the cave of Indrasala the original name of the temple may have been Indrasala guha which later resulted in the word Hindagala.
Another interpretation of the word Hindagala is the appearance of the rock resembling an elephant in kneeling position.
The paintings in the varandha of the Viharaya includes the offering of milk rice by Sujatha, floating of the bowl relic and the Great Renunciation.
Inside the Viharaya are scenes from the Mara Yuddhaya , Suvisi Vivaranaya and Solosmasthana. Ancient paintings in the cave have been destroyed by a fire.
There are two inscriptions belonging to the 6th and 7th centuries on the rock above the cave. The method used here is that of continuous narration.