The site is known today as ISUMUNIYA
Probably only part of the 'Issaramana founded by King Tissa in the 3rd century BC. There is a cave, which must have sheltered monks during the early centuries of Buddhism, but many of the sculptures are not in fact religious in nature the sculptures themselves are, amongst the most beautiful works of art in Anuradhapura but what they represent is still debated by scholars.
On the eastern side of the rock next to the steps, is a pond. A cleft in the lock comes down to the water and on both sides of the fissure are Sculptures of elephants. Scholars have said that the group on the left is related to South Indian art of the Pallava period (i.e. 7th century)
The artist has used the natural shape of the rock to the full arid has created a three dimensional effect in relief. Immediately opposite on the light, is another elephant carved in bas‑relief, which is a most amusing work of art. It seems to have been calved by a forerunner of Walt Disney. It is probably unfinished arid may be by the same sculptor as the elephants in the Royal Pleasure Gardens.
Above the elephants, calmly surveying the view, sits a man in a relaxed pose, with his right aim over his knee, a horse's head peers out from behind him. The identity of this figure is still a matter of controversy, but the best explanation so far is that it represents Aiyanar, a forest deity of Sri Lanka who tides on horseback, arid watches over humankind in the jungles. It is usually associated with elephants.
We come next to the stairway. The stairway and the platform have been rebuilt with all sorts of fragments from the site, of differing dates. In between the stair‑way arid, the modern Buddhist Temple is the famous sculpture known as 'The lovers”. It has been dated to the 16th century AD arid it resembles the work of the Gupta styles in India. Although the main sculptures at 'Isurumuniya' can be dated by comparison with Indian styles, they all have a clearly Sri Lanka character. Again, identity of the lovers is not known; the sculpture is nevertheless extremely good. Local legend identifies this pair with it King Dutugemunu’s son Saliya arid the low‑caste maiden for whom he gave up the throne. On the staircase, to the right, is a collection of chubby dwarfs.
The modern Buddhist temple contains a large recumbent Buddha and a semi‑circle of rather beautiful modem plaster figures, which have been worked by a Kandiyan sculptor. Behind these can be seen the ancient Wall of the cave, with its drip line. Coming out of the temple, there is a rock ‑fissure where there. Is another sculpture of similar style to, although probably of later date than “The Lovers”? It represents a court scene, of a king surrounded by handmaidens and attendants, one of whom holds a flywhisk. Along the base of the rock, there are some very good figures of dwarfs.