Points of Interest - Anuradhapura

Isurumuniya temple

Isurumuniya is a Buddhist temple situated near to the Tissa Wewa (Tisa tank) in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. There are four carvings of special interest in this Vihara. They are the Isurumuniya Lovers, Elephant Pond and The Royal Family.

The temple was built by King Devanampiya Tissa (307 BC to 267 BC) who ruled in the ancient Sri Lankan capital of Anuradhapura. After 500 children of high-caste were ordained, Isurumuniya was built for them to reside. King Kasyapa I (473-491 AD) renovated this viharaya and named it as "Boupulvan, Kasubgiri Radmaha Vehera". This name is derived from names of his 2 daughters and his name. There is a viharaya connected to a cave and above is a cliff. A small stupa is built on it. It can be seen that the constructional work of this stupa belong to the present period. Lower down on both sides of a cleft, in a rock that appears to rise out of a pool, have been carved the figures of elephants. On the rock is carved the figure of a horse. The carving of Isurumuniya lovers on the slab has been brought from another place and placed it there. A few yards away from this vihara is the Ranmasu Uyana.

Isurumuniya lovers - 6th Century Gupta style carving. The woman, seated on the man's lap, lifts a warning finger, probably as a manifestation of her coyness; but the man carries on regardless. The figures may represent Dutugemunu's son Saliya and the low caste (Sadol Kula) maiden Asokamala whom he loved. It's known that he gave up the throne for her.

Royal Family - The Royal Family carving is carved on a Granite plate. There are five human figures carved on this plate. The human figure in the center is King Dutugamunu, who has a tall crown on his head and a "puna noola" around his chest. At his left are another two human figures. They are fanning him with a "Wijinipath"

Elephant Pond Carving - There are four elephants in this carving. It shows them bathing. The elephant figures here are very similar to the elephant figures in "Mamallapuram" In India.

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