Isurumuniya Temple - The Buddha Temple of Anuradhapura

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Isurumuniya TempleThis beautiful temple of Buddhist is situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka near to the Tissa Wewa which holds four beautifully designed carvings of special interest. These four beautifully designed carvings of the temple are Horseman, Royal Family, Elephant Pond, and the Isurumuniya lovers. The temple is also called as Megahgiri Vihara which was constructed during the rule of Devanampiya Tissa who was governing in Anuradhapura (the capital city at that time). He built Isurumuniya as a monastic complex to house those 500 children who were ordained. The beautiful stone carvings of the temple were brought here from the Royal Pleasure Garden. The carvings of Isurumuniya Temple have many associated legends over the centuries. The carving depicts the manifestation of the coyness of a lady who is shown as sitting on a man’s lap and lifting a finger in a manner which gets interpreted as coyness by many of the tourists. There are many interpretations of the carving as there is no strong what it wants to convey actually? It is believed that Vessagiriya Vihara was the original temple which is located very close to the Isurumuniya Vihara.


It is believed that King Ravana was born at the same place and Pulasthi Rishi was living here. There is a written history of this place of 5000 years back and is one of the 3-stargates in the world. The temple was built by King Devanampiya Tissa who was the ruler of Anuradhapura. The stupa was built to reside those 500 children of Anuradhapura who were ordained from Isurumuniya.


The temple was constructed around 307 BC-267 BC by Devanampiya Tissa. There is a lovely lotus pond which surrounds the temple. The edges of the pond are beautifully carved out with the images of elephants splashing water in a playful manner. Some particularly fine mural paintings adorn the central temple beautifully. On the back side of this Stupa, there is a rock summit on which the footprints of Lord Buddha are embarked. The lover’s museum of the Stupa was constructed around 5th century AD and is designed in the artistic Indian Gupta style.

Places to Visit

There are numerous beautiful places which encircle this splendid temple of Anuradhapura and make Isurumuniya more appealing. Some of those places are compiled and listed in this article which can help you on your next visit to Sri Lanka.

  • Sri Maha Bodhi Temple: This is a divine place which is reckoned for a 23 centuries old fig tree and has been cared for by the forest department of the country. It is believed that the sapling of the tree of this tree had been taken from the tree of Bodh Gaya under which Lord Buddha attained his enlightenment and so is considered so sacred. There are many monastic buildings located nearby the temple.
  • Ritigala Forest Monastery: The stone paths of the ruined monastery complex lead through the old trees of the jungle. The place was originally inhabited by Yukas who were the aboriginal locals. This beautifully designed architecture was built between 437 and 367 BCE and represent an engineering marvel of the time when there was no mode of transportation and the structure is completely built of heavy stones.
  • Dagoba of Thuparama: It is one of the oldest Sri Lankan Dagobas which beautifully represent the earliest monument of Buddhism. According to the legend, the dagoba is constructed using the right collarbone of Lord Buddha. The dagoba has been plundered and destroyed many times but have been rebuilt every time and has regained its original bell-shaped structure. If you are visiting the place then you need to take your shoes off.
  • Lovamahapaya Temple: This ancient monument of Anuradhapura was a majestic palace which was covered with copper-bronze plates and the inner walls of the Stupa are studded with precious stones. It is a nine-storied building which is 150 feet high and is also called as the Brazen Palace. There are a total of 1600 pillars comprising this stupa built by King Devanampiya Tissa in which each row contains 40 rows.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit this temple is on a dry and sunny day with little rain. Monsoon commences in April in this region of Sri Lanka. So, plan your trip accordingly.

Food and Accommodation

Gamodh Citadel Resort, City Resort, Big Game Camp, London Palace are some of the nearby places which can offer you the accommodation at a pocket-friendly budget. Walkers and Hotel Shalini Restaurant are some of the clean and cheap restaurants which offer you some of the best mouth-watering dishes of Sri Lanka.

Travel Tips

Similar to other sacred places in Sri Lanka Isurumuniya also has some rules which a devotee needs to follow.

  • Remember to carry along and a well-covered dress which is a very old tradition. If you don’t follow it you will not be allowed to enter the temple.
  • Hats and shoes are not allowed inside the temple. So, remove them before you enter.
  • Wear socks or else be ready to burn your feet on the heated floor.

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