Nadungamuwa Vijaya Raja mostly known as Nadungamuwa Raja was an Indian tusker born on 1953 in Mysore. He was the current main casket bearer of the procession of Esala held in Kandy Sri Lanka. He was one of the two elephants gifted by a Mysuru Maharaja to the veteran native physician monk who resided in Nilammahara Temple Piliyandala.
In 1978 Nadungamuwa Raja was acquired from his second owner (Herbert Wickramasinghe, former MP of Bandaragama) by Dharmavijaya Veda Ralahamy of Nadungamuwa area, an eminent Ayurvedic physician of that time (father of the present owner Dr. Harsha Dharmavijaya). Since then the elephant has been named after his residing village Nadungamuwa. Raja is cared for by Wilson Kodithuwakku aka “Kalu Mama”.
Nadungamuwa Raja used to carry the sacred relic casket of the Kandy Esala Perahera. He is the one who has carried it the most number of times.
Nadungamuwa Raja is famous for having the world’s largest tusk. Raja is the principal elephant in the Esala Pageant who adopts the ark.
He is a male elephant with a height of 10.3 feet tall, he is Sri Lanka’s tallest tame fang, and he has his armed guard. He was born in a stable. According to the sources, he runs 25-30 kilometers every day, typically in the colder afternoons with his own armed guards.
The Raja is an unofficial national treasure because it is one of the few ivories chosen to carry the coffin containing the relics of the Buddha at the annual gala held at the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the island’s holiest Buddhist shrine.
Indian Tusker Elephant Nadungamuwa Raja Died At Age 69 Years: What Happened?
‘Nadungamuwa Raja‘ the tusker which has carried the sacred relic casket of the Kandy Esala perahera the most number of times, has died this morning at age 69 years this news was confirmed by The Diyawadana Nilame of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.
Nadungamuwa Raja is one of the few tuskers chosen to carry the Sacred Casket of Buddha Relics at the annual Kandy Perahera. He is who carried the precious tooth relic during the annual Kandy Esala perahera.
Doctors determined that Raja was one of the sublime Sahanthakula, which, according to their physical attributes, meant one of the ten sorcerers of the Asian elephant. Sahanta elephants are considered noble due to their exceptionally large size and girth, making them larger and more powerful than other Asian elephants.
Raja participates in many festivities and colorful religious processions, which means that he most often carries the temple’s sacred relics. He received special training for the role. Over the years, he has carried the Ark, a casket containing relics of the Buddha, for many of the island’s major festivals, such as Bellanwila, Pita Kotte, and Nawagamuwa festivals.
In 2005 Raja was honored to be the central tusk carrying the sacred Buddha Tooth Relic in the Kandy Isara beauty pageant, the island’s most important and spectacular beauty pageant with over 100 elephant dancers and drummers. He has been doing this work regularly since then and does it every year.