Isurumuniya Viharaya – ඉසුරුමුණිය විහාරය

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isurumuniyaThe Meghagiri Vihara is now commonly known as Isurumuniya Vihara or Isurumuniya. But the real Isurumuni Vihara is located few hundred metres away is now called Vessagiri Vihara.

Isurumuniya is most famous for the stone carving of a couple located there. This carved stone was found in the royal pleasure garden and brought here. There are many interpretations for this carving.

Isurumuniya Lovers

Isurumuniya Lovers

The most popular is that this carving shows the prince Saliya (the son of the great king Dutugamunu) and his mistress Asokamala. Asokamala was of a lover cast called “Chandala” and the prince Saliya gave up the right to be the king by marrying this girl of a lower cast.

Another belief is that this couple represent the god Siva and goddess Parvathi of Hindu belief.

The vihara also has another stone slab which depicts a court scene which is thought to be the court of king Dutugemunu. Both these stone slabs are thought to be originated in the 8th century.

The vihara itself is built on a rock and the sacred tooth relic of Buddha has been originally kept here when it arrived to the island from India in the 312 AC.

At the entrance to the rock temple is a large pond. Above the pond there is a carving of bathing elephants and on the top-level of the stairs there is another carving of a man seated in a royal pose and a horse head. The top carving is thought to be carving of Agni and Parjanya. Parjanya is the god for rain. The elephants below represent the clouds. With this interpretation it is believed this place was also used by the king to perform ceremonies for rain God.

The stupa and the Buddha image in this temple are of recent origin. But there are some caves which probably were used earlier but now have become a haven for bats.

Also See

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

Bathing elephants above the water tank of Isurumuniya

Bathing elephants above the water tank of Isurumuniya – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

before restoration – photo taken on late 1800′s or early 1900′s

 

Map of Isurumuniya Temple

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Driving Directions to Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura can be reached through many routes from Colombo. The two main routes are through Puttlam (Puttalama) and though Kurunegala. Traveling from Puttlam you will pass scenic Wilpattu area. the From Kurunegala there are two main routes to Anuradhapura. The most common route is through Dambulla. The other route is though Galgamuwa. Out of all the routes, the commonly used is the Kurunegala – Dambulla route (Route 2).

Route 01 from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Route 02 from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Though : Negombo - Chillaw - Puthlam
distance from colombo :213 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Dambulla
distance from Colombo : 221 km
Travel time : 3.15 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

Route 03 from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Route from Kandy to Anuradhapura

Though : Ambepussa - Kurunegala - Padeniya - Thambuthegama
distance from colombo :213 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Katugastota - Matale - Dambulla
distance from Colombo :139 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

Route from Anuradhapura Railway Station to Isurumuniya

Distance : 3 km
Travel time : 10 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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