Located in Anuradhapura, Isurumuniya Viharaya was built in the 3rd century BC by King Devanampiyatissa. It was initially called the Meghagiri Viharaya and is believed to be the first temple in which the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha was housed before the capital shifted to Polonnaruwa.
Apart from being a major place of worship, there are notable features such as the Elephant Pond, the Isurumuniya Lovers carving, and carvings of the Royal Family. It is of course, the Isurumuniya Lovers that take centre stage, as the carving depicts a tragic love story that has been told for centuries and acts as a major turning point for the Sri Lankan monarch of old.
Lore of the Isurumuniya Carving
The story goes that the carving of the two lovers are Prince Saliya and Asokamala, in which the former was the son of King Dutugemunu and the latter was an individual from a low caste. In other words, it narrates the love story of how a man of royalty gave up his right to the throne to be with the one who he loves. In addition to the intricately sculpted Isurumuniya Lovers, the Elephant Pond, and the Royal Pleasure Gardens are also of great interest as its elaborate elements catch the eye of many patrons who visit the complex.