Nadungamuwe Vijaya Raja who majestically carried the sacred relic cast for more than a decade may be no more, but the tusker will be remembered for many years. Already the government has decided to preserve the remains of the elephant as national treasure.
The tuskers movements in the annual cultural pageant with the sacred relic cast parading through the Esala Perahera in Kandy has been watched by millions over the years and the patients of Nadungamuwe Raja was one of the unique features.
One of the unique features of the tusker was that it traveled from its habitat in Nedungamuwa in the Gampaha district to Kandy by foot instead of transported to Kandy. Even for the last year’s pageant it was taken by foot, though the health situation was not at its peak.
The tusker itself has historic background after being born in India in 1953. It was a Maharaja from Mysuru who donated the elephant as a calve to a Sri Lankan physician monk in gratitude for treating one of its relatives after ailing from a long term illness.
In 1978 the Dharmavijaya family popular for its Ayurvedic skills took over the tusker and since then the elephant remained with the family until it passed away.
It was Kalu Mama or Wilson Kodithuwakkua who took care of the tusker for the past 15 years shares and was among dozens of mourners who gathered to pay the last respects for the tusker when its last rights was performed on March 7, 2022.
But the tusker will remain in the hearts of many thousands who have witnessed the annual Esala Perahera.