| Isurumuniya is among the most beautiful works of art in Anuradhapura.It was founded by king Tissa in the 3rd century B.C.The Famous sculpture here is known as “The Lovers”
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.
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.