Diyasen Paya of Jetavanaramaya Monastery – ජේතවනාරාමයේ දියසෙන් පාය

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Diyasen Paya of Jetavanaramaya Monastery - ජේතවනාරාමයේ දියසෙන් පාය
Diyasen Paya of Jetavanaramaya Monastery – ජේතවනාරාමයේ දියසෙන් පාය

This is the Uposathagara (chapter house) of the Jetavanaramaya Vihara Complex. During the reign of king Gothabhaya (253-266 AC) a disagreement took place between the monks of Maha Vihara Monastery and the Abhayagiri Monastery regarding a vaithulya doctrine. King Gothabhaya took the side of the Maha Vihara and banished 60 monks who had turned in the Vetulya doctrine from Abhayagiri Monastery. One of the disciples of the banished monks called Sangamitta thero decided to avenge the bikkus of Maha Viharaya. He came back to Sri Lanka and gained the favour of king Gothabhaya (253-266 AD) and was entrusted to teach his two sons prince Mahasena and Prince Jetthatissa. After their father’s death, the elder son prince Jetthatissa who was a supporter of the Mahavihara monks became the king and reigned for 10 years (266-276 AD). In 276 Mahasena (276-303) succeeded to the throne and he persuaded the king that the Mahaviharians laxed discipline and the monks of Abhayagiri vihara preached the true doctrine of the Buddha. He also persuaded the king to order prohibition of giving arms to the Mahaviharians and they were forced to retreat to the hills and Rohana.

Then Sangamittha thero persuaded the king to razor the Maha Vihara buildings and use the materials to build up a new rival institute within the boundaries of Maha Vihara itself. This became to known as the Jethawanaramaya (Jethawana Viharaya).


What Lovamahapaya was to Mahavihara Monastery and Rathna Prasada to Abhayagiri Monastery, Diyasen Paya is to Jathawana Monastery. The ground plan is similar to Lovamahapaya and Ratnaprasadaya but smaller in size. The building has been built utilizing 176 large stone pillars and would have had multiple levels as in its cousins on the other two monasteries. All the pillars are broken and only the subs of the pillars stand today. The ground floor is believed to have been used as the chapter house where the Buddhist rituals would have been carried out and the upper floors would have been served as residences for priests.

During the ninth and the tenth centuries, Jetavana monastery was patronized by several kings though not to the same extent as the other two monasteries. Sena I (833-853 AD) who rebuilt the Maha Parivena which had been burnt down, also erected a new dwelling and Installed a gold image of the Buddha in it. Sena II placed figures of bodhisattvas in the Manimekalaprasada (Rathna Prasada). which was destroyed later by Coja invaders. The task of restoration was undertaken by Udaya IV (946-954 AD) and and completed by Mahinda. IV (956-972 AD). The latter was also responsible for the restoration of the Diyasen Paya of Jetavana monastery.

The slab inscription (no 1) of king Mahinda IV (956-972 AD) mentions the name of this edifice as “Diyasen Paya” and the Jetavanarama monastery has been called “Dena Vehera”.

Lines 17-19 of this inscription states ;

He built anew the great uposatha hall [named] Diya-sen , which displayed the grace of pilisat‘ to the Lord of Sages in summer . . . in the beautiful Dena-vehera. [Like] the golden Meru shining with gems of various kinds . . . he raised . . . with . . . work. He made an orb of the sun like unto a wheel of gems, which rolls to his hands as the fruit of his meritorious work. With a golden parasol like the orb of the sun shining on the Orient Mount, he adorned the head of the image [of the Lord of Sages], and with golden capital topped” pillars at the four corners, which displayed the splendor of his majesty widespread over the four continents, he made .(Wickremasinghe,1912).

According to above, he Uposathagara (chapter house), Diyasen Paya seems to be one of the later additions by king Mahinda IV (956-972 AD) to the Dena-vehera (Jetavanarama monastery) built by king Mahasena (276-303 AD) in the 3rd centaury.


  1. Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural, and historic sites. Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.104.
  2. Wickremasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1912. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscription of Ceylon (Vol. I). London. Archaeological Survey of Ceylon. pp. 213-227
  3. Gunawardana, R. A. L. H., 1965. The history of the Buddhist Saṅgha in Ceylon from the reign of Sena I to the invasion of Māgha.. Doctor of Philosophy. University of London.

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Driving Directions to Diyasen Paya of Jetavanaramaya Monastery

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

Through : 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

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