Isurumuniya Rock Temple
This delightful vihara (Buddhist monastery) is famed for its stone carving of a young couple known as the ‘Isurumuniya Lovers’, believed to have been King Dutugemunu's son Saliya and his lower-caste mistress Asokamala, for whom he gave up the throne.
The temple was built by King Devanampiya Tissa, and the complex includes the viharaya, which is connected to a cave, and the cliff above, on which was built a small stupa.
It is thought that the sacred tooth relic of Buddha was originally kept here when it arrived on the island from India, and lies at the heart of the history of Anuradhapura.
A particularly tranquil feature is a large pond at the entrance to the temple, above which is a carving of bathing elephants representing clouds, prompting the believe that the site was used by the king to perform ceremonies for the Rain God.