Ceremonial Tusker “Nedungamuwe Raja” bids adieu By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Well-known as one of the most revered tuskers in Sri Lanka, Nedungamuwe Vijaya Raja, the majestic “Maligawa Tusker”, popularly known as “Nedungamuwe Raja” who played a significant role as the Sacred Casket Bearer of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) passed away on March 7, 2022 morning at the age of 69 years due to natural causes.  The Tusker was provided a state funeral by the Government of Sri Lanka as he was considered a national treasure during his lifetime. The Tusker was named “Nedungamuwa Raja” as its owner was living in Nedungamuwa. President Gotabaya Rajapakse has also instructed to preserve the Tusker’s body as a taxidermied corpse of the majestic animal, similar to the taxidermied corpse of the former Maliagawa Tusker displayed in Raja Museum adjoining the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Nedungamuwe Raja was ...

Read More →

Raja Museum – tribute to an honored elephant in Asia By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Raja the Maligawa tusker or Maligawa Raja (meaning Raja of Dalada Maligawa – Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy) was the sacred casket bearer of Kandy *Esala Perahera (procession) for over 50 years as well as the sacred casket bearer in the *Randoli Perahera for 37 years. Raja was the most honored and dignified elephant in Asia during his lifetime. Raja (1913 – 1988) was globally renowned for his dignified manners during the procession. Former President J.R. Jayewardene declared Raja as a national treasure in 1986 for his valuable services to the religion (Buddhism) and culture of Sri Lanka, two years before his death at the age of 75.  Raja was respected by the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic during his lifetime as well as after his death. Taxidermy experts preserved the dead animal’s ...

Read More →