Isurumuniya Temple

Isurumuniya Temple

Isurumuniya is a Buddhist temple situated near to the Tisawewa (Tisa tank). The temple was built by King Devanampiya Tissa 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. Isurumuni Lovers Isurumuniya Lovers-Pem-Yuwala-Dutugemunu's son Saliya and the law caste (Sadol Kula) maiden Asokamala whom he loved 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 law caste (Sadol Kula) maiden Asokamala whom he loved. It's known that he gave up the throne for her. ‘Siddha mahayaha kuni – maha (la) ka Asala yaha (di) ni’ [Hail! The cell of Mahaya is given to Venerable Asalaya] The above Brahmi inscription was inscribed at the original place where the Isurumuniya Lovers were originally sculptured and placed. It is a special one as a letters in this inscription is 3 inches x 4 inches in size. After donating Vessagiriya to Maha Sangha this sculpture would have been removed and placed at its present place. The Lovers in the sculptured plaque are King Kuvera Vaisrawana and his Queen Kuni. Ramayana states that Vaisrawana who lived in Vessagiriya ruled Sri Lanka from Lankapura before Rawana.

Recommended review time for sightseeing: 40 m

Sightseeings nearby
Tourist reviews about Isurumuniya Temple

Another temple, but different view
Su H [TA], , Queens, New York, United States

It is a small temple, but it is different view and why not take few stairs and see the view. :)
I also saw bats!

Worth avisit
MisePB [TA], ,

This is a lovely peaceful beautiful place. Socks are essential to save your feet from the hot ground. When I was there there were small crowds, unlike the bigger sites

Great Little Temple!
a h [TA], , Seattle, Washington

A nice change of pace for those looking to see a smaller but more tranquil stupa. You can climb to the top and get a nice view of the surrounding area. There is a nice pond, well kept grounds, and its much quieter than the bigger places in town. As with all other temples you need to take your shoes off, so be careful if you visit this place in the middle of the day. The hot sand can burn your feet!

Sacred place
Miri-hu [TA], , Budapest, Hungary

One of the very important monument of the Sri Lankan early kingdoms and buddhism history! More than 2200 years history!

Don't forget, hat and shoes forbidden inside the sacred area. You will need sun protection cream, and exchange socks is very practical. The reason not just the dirty floor (these places wasn't really dirty), very often the stone very hot without shoes.
I recommend you, before the visit you must read some historical fact about this place, will be interesting the visit!

Not much to see here
YashasTan... [TA], , Bangalore, Karnataka, India

There is not much to see here. You can only go for a walk behind the temple where there is a lake. Not a place worth visiting if you are in Anuradhapura just for a day.

A charming temple and view point
gkw_1981 [TA], , Milan, Italy

This site is not on the main Anuradhapura ticket but is well worth a visit. The small temple is quite beautiful and there are some interesting carvings in the gallery. This site seems to attract less visitors than the other ancient monuments, rendering the visit more tranquil.

Good for a brief visit
Lidsor [TA], , Bremen, Germany

Nothing spectacular, but nice little rock temple. Good for a visit of 20 minutes on the way to somewhere else.

A quite fascinating temple, with beautiful carvings - well worth a visit
EHinOz [TA], , Sydney, Australia

It's hard to believe that this fascinating place has been around since ~200 BC. The rock carvings are intricate and quite sublime. I liked the elephants by the square pool as much as those carvings which have been moved indoors and displayed more formally in the gallery. This temple is probably my favourite in Anuradhapura. Enjoy it. Don't forget to take a few coins to test your throwing skills at the square pool.

Very photogenic and tranquil spot
Nimitta [TA], , UK

This is a very photogenic and tranquil spot and once housed the tooth relic. There are also some beautiful carvings to see and whilst the site is quite small, it was quiet when we visited and very pleasurable to wander around.

Ancient carvings and stories
YTCHENG [TA], , Hong Kong, China

The temple was built by King Devanampiyatissa (250 - 210 BC) and this mountainous site of Mihintale was filled with ruins, stupas, temples dedicated to the glory of historic encounter between Tissa and Mahinda. The temple was located between two boulders with one adjoining a pond. On top of the rock, you could have nice views on the surrounding. The reclining buddha was the landmark in the Rock Temple. Worth visiting this spot when in Anuradhapura.

Rascist place
Kavitha A [TA], ,

I went there together with other norwegian citizen. Since they had Sri-lankan origin they went in for free when I was asked by a silly soldier women to pay tourist ticket because I was white. Because of this experience I have desided not wisit Sri-Lanka anymore and I will not recomend that destination to anyone. What makes me realy pissed off is that Norwegian tax payers have helped that country billins of dollars but as we use to say in Norway ungreatfullnes is the worlds payment.

Fascinating and beautiful
John4017 [TA], , Brisbane, Australia

Well worth a trip to see this place. Very peaceful and so very few tourists. The pool and rock carving were beautiful asking with the large reclining Buddha.

Un believable
JAYANTHA... [TA], , Bangkok, Thailand

steps are very easy to go up, the guide boys are excellent. tfree they explained every this correctly. but monkeys are dangerous. they trying to stealing foods in hands. nice view on the top of the Mihintale.

Historical site
nelumj [TA], , Colombo

A great way to experience Sri Lankan history from a Buddhist/cultural perspective. The main attraction here is a stone carving dating more than 1,500 years

One of Best Place to visit
Sandun R [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

This is actually not a temple at its inception. That's one of entertaining site of an old king and later has become a sacred place once it rediscovered in recent eras. You must visit this place since once visited, it will excite you to re visit. The statue of Isurumini Lovers is the central attraction of this place. behind the temple, you can see the higher dam of Thisa wewa, one of largest man made tank. I have been there for more than 10 times.

First Temple of Sri Lanka
CHANNADS [TA], , Galle, Sri Lanka

After Budhism was Introduced to Srilanka by arahanth(Enlighten one)Mahinda in 3rd Century BC this temple was built by the king Devanampiyathissa who was ruling the country that period.
It is a master pieace of great architecture within a rock.Temple comprises Srine room,Stupa and pond.Later The world famous Isurumuniya Lovers stone carving has being introduced by the kings during the 6-7 Century AD.This is a must visit place if you ever happen to be in ancient capital of Sri Lanka,Anuradhapura.

stunning rock temple
roshan_ka... [TA], , Kandy, Sri Lanka

i have visited 3 times isurumuniya rock temple, feel so good in the mind when ever visit the temple, it has many stone carvings, special the carvings of true lovers, lovely view 360 degrees when we are up in the rock, peaceful environment,

excellent location and proud to be a Sri Lankan
DeSilva29... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

excellent location and proud to be a Sri Lankan. This was an ancient temple of Sri Lanka which was built by great Kings of Sri Lanka

At the ancient capital of Sri Lanka
Betula103 [TA], , Australia

There is a small temple within a rock and it is an easy climb up steps to get to the top of the rock and admire the views of the countryside. Judging by the number of Sri Lankans visiting here and the number of cars and buses it is a very important place for them. The area is very well maintained and there are interesting artifacts in the small museum obviously removed from their original locations to preserve them. It is also a pleasant walk to the area wheter there is a large glowing white stupa.

one of the most famous couples of all time live on in this historic temple premises..
Krajjy [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

This is a temple with a difference. It was interesting watching people toss coins into the tiny enclave on the face of the temple - and mainly missing their mark as the coins hit the surrounding moat. Climbing the ancient rock adjoining the temple and viewing the forest environs from the summit was great, but I was very disappointed that the historic 'isurumuni lovers' has been removed from their original setting at the temple and are now homed in the adjacent museum. So many artifacts seem to be removed and put under protection this way. I suppose the authorities would say they had little choice in the matter, given the vandalism that takes place these days..

Start anurhapura visit here
HermesFra... [TA], , France

Visit the small museum close this monument , before to visit the city of anurhadapura .... and clim to the top of the rock you'll get a wonderful view !

Worth a visit
silvajohn [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Isurumuniya though not famous for it's stupa, was a famous temple historically for praying to the rain gods. Minimal effort to climb to the top of the rock. Excellent view of the surrounding area from the top of the rock. Make sure you visit the Museum and take some pictures of the famous lovers, a 6th Century Gupta style rock carving. The figures may represent Dutugemunu's son Saliya and the law caste (Sadol Kula) maiden Asokamala whom he loved. It's known that he gave up the throne for her. the tour can be completed within half an hour.

Peaceful temple with a great view, separate entrance fee
toymakerl... [TA], , Kuala Lumpur

I like it for the fact that it's breezy on the top though a little (very minimal) climb (stairs) is needed and you will have a great view, overseeing Tissa Wewa. One of my favourite temples in Sri Lanka, and one that leaves a deep impression.

It is near to the Sri Maha Bodhi temple. Worth a visit if you are nearby. The entrance fee (Rs.200) is not included in the rest of the ancient sites, so do it on a separate day.

We didnt have guide to tell us stories, nor we are historical buffs who want to write a journal about it, but we enjoyed the view and serenity.

Another masterpiece
NathalieA... [TA], , Dandenong, Australia

Take your socks as this is a hat and shoe free zone. Socks are acceptable and respectful. Fascinated watching the local attendees throwing coins into the rock opening, and then the climb to the top of the rock well worth the crowd and wait.

Must see
Sanka W [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Another must see sight in Anuradhapura. This place is world famous for its sculpture of the "Isurumiya Romantic Couple". There're some other stone carvings outside the temple, just above the pond.

Interesting place to visit
Fahadh N [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

We went there with our family. First ever in my life I witnessed a bat cave. One of the must see historical place in Sri Lanka.

Worth a visit...
Treshi [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Famous for `Isurumuniya Lovers' and the temple was built by King Dewanampiyatissa. Has a very rich history of the place and carries a lot of historical values for the Sri Lankans. A place must visit if you visit Anuradhapura.

Compact place - well known statue
KTeo [TA], , Singapore

A compact place. You get to see beautiful sculpture of a sensual couple (you can see it on postcards). The climb up the dagoba was rewarded with a good view of the surrounding. A reclining one of the rooms. Good option to spend if you have extra hours in Anuradhapura.

Not too busy and full of interest!
wing6ride... [TA], , Australia

It may not take long to visit, but this is a nice attraction to visit. It has a good sense of intimacy after some of the larger and busier sights. We took a tuk from town and back which was not far. One of the nicest spots in Anuradhapura and no selling going on. Great in the late afternoon.

Lovely temple
Ellen_and... [TA], , Antwerp, Belgium

We almost missed this temple as it is slightly away from the other sites. But we're glad we went. The temple is small but very charismatic. The reclining buddha is beautifully painted as is the room where it is housed. There is also a bat colony, a very busy squiggly bunch but fun to watch.

a must see.
Dilrukshi... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Once again the ancient architecture is amazing.The carvings done on stone is so precise that one is amazed by the talents of the stone sculptures.

Very old
cjd [TA], , Townville, South Carolina

This is supposed to be the oldest rock temple in Sri Lanka. It is quite interesting and a good place to visit.

A nice Rock Temple
Babaena [TA], , Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

... if you hear loud noises, raise your eyes. It could be a huge population of bats living in this temple.

loved the bats!
christine... [TA], , Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

nothing special to see, lovers sculpture, dagoba,ponds, but the cabe full of bats did impress me, on my 3rd day sri lanka, not knowing, that bats often hang in trees.
entrance fee 1100 rps

Isurumuniya rock temple is a fine peice of an artifact
SarathSal [TA], , Kandy, Sri Lanka

Isurumuniya rock temple is a beautiful peice of artifact as well as a relegious temple located in the secred city of Anuradhapura. The twin ponds , the cool breeze flowing from one side over the Thissa wawa , water tank and the temple itself which had been built on a rocky surface are fine constructional achievements made by the ancient kings. The world famous stone carving of "lovers" called the lovers of Isurumuniya has been preserved and a historic story backs it. It is a unique construction with most of the carvings and the temple done purely with granite stone.

Bats and more
shilpaap [TA], , Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This is a nice location and very well kept, again a hot foot massage. The guide was very limited with his vocabulary of English and we had to fill in the blanks he would create. Being an Indian we were aware of the story of Buddha so it was easier to comprehend what he was trying to say.

Helen R [TA], , Sitrah, Bahrain

Also lovely place to visit. In anuradhapura you cant walk in day time as it was very hot.the structure is amazing.

Rock Temple
Artur2006 [TA], , Poznan, Poland

An example of a small Sri Lankan temple in the rock. Charming place. A lot of bats in the rock uder Dagoba on the top.

Worth the climb
Bernardin... [TA], , Auckland Region, New Zealand

This site reminded me of the world heritage sites in Capadoccia Turkey. Paintings were better preserved here.

Lovers Carvings
Thishanth... [TA], , Colombo

Another one of the amazing places in Anuradhapura. The carvings inside the museum are really beautiful. A place where a prince had to hide because of his affair with a low caste lass. Truly worth a visit.

We saw Buddha's footprint!
Marie B [TA], , Chiang Mai, Thailand

The temple complex was interesting as a cave monastery and reliquary. The dying Buddha statue was massive.
Not far away we also saw the rock from which Buddha is said to have launched himself on his flight back to india.
We also saw the "Stargate" diagram. Google this for Info.

A temple worth a visit
Paulo M [TA], , Lisbon, Portugal

It is a nice temple built as a fusion with a rock, where you can see carved the famous 'horse and man' and the well preserved carved elephants bathing in the small lake. Near to it you can get ot know more about the history of the Isurumunya Lovers.

The site of the beginning
Robert188... [TA], , The Hague, The Netherlands

Legends has it that the first relic of the Buddha was put here in the days of the emperor Ashoka, and the atmosphere makes one willing to believe this record from the Chronicles. It was a monastery then, it still is.

Isshani [TA], , Bandaragama

it just amazing work done by an ancient sri lankan...

Small visit but woth the stop
AsianTrav... [TA], , Bangkok, Thailand

I was there quite early and there was no entrance fee. You can climb the rocks, visit the temple inside and see some swallows and bats that made the temple their own. The whole visit takes only 15 minutes, you need to take off your shoes.

Ewingston [TA], , Humbie,Scotland

For westerners unused to walking barefoot outside, this is rather hard going but worth it none the less. The little museum has interesting carvings and the view from the top is worth the climb.

Visit if only you have a long stay in Anuradhapura!
Good_Tidi... [TA], , San Francisco, California

The temple is located away from the archaeological center and would take a bus ride to get there. Personally I did not find the temple itself too impressive but if you are in Anuradhapura for over 2 days and are done seeing the historic center then visit the temple for its carvings.

Historical sites at its very best
Deran H [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

I visited Isurumuniya with my family mates, for the "n"th time, and I still can't stop admiring this historical site.

Being a local I must state, that visiting these sort of historical sites require no special local guide, as the directions are given appropriately and besides the local community offers genuine help when you need the most.

Remember to take off your shoes and hats/ caps while you're visiting the place, obeying the religion and its values. I would also recommend travelers to avoid shorts/ sleeveless materials at the time of visit.

This will help you to understand Sri Lanka.
bklynbubb... [TA], , Brooklyn, NY

This was an excellent beginning to my visit to Anuradhapura's many sights. Guides are available and I strongly advise to think carefully about this. Hiring a guide is helping them to earn a living of course, but at some places it is not really necessary. The choice is yours.

Significant Carving........
TravelerR... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

This place is famous for the carving of a couple said to be the brother of king Dutugemunu . Saliya and his bride Asokamala whom he loved. It's known that he gave up the throne for her. The rock sculpture is in side the museum for safety. and from out side you can climb to the top of the rock and see the surrounding area.

A lovely temple.
Chachapum... [TA], , UK

A temple that doesn't experience high volumes of tourists, this site is worth the visit.

The on-site museum features numerous sculptures that originate from the temple. The most noteworthy are the 'lovers' and the 'kings family'.
Beside the museum is a rock-cut shrine room featuring an extremely colourful reclining Buddha, a beautifully painted ceiling, and other images of Buddha.
Adjacent to the pond is another shrine room featuring images of Buddha below a makara torana.
Beside the pond itself and carved into the rockface is a sculpture known as 'the man and his horse', and two sets of carvings of elephants.

Many people will miss this site, but I throughly enjoyed it and would recommend others go.

If you're just a normal tourist go see Polonnaruwa instead
00pb [TA], , xxx

If you have limited time and are not an archaelogist then go to Polonnaruwa instead - Anuradhapura is very nice but it is a long way to go and Polonnaruwa has a lot more to see.

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