Colombo, Mar 7 (PTI) Sri Lanka is mourning the death of a 69-year-old celebrated Indian elephant, considered to be the largest in Asia, after it died on Monday, with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructing that the body of the tusker be preserved for future generations and naming it as a national treasure.
The tusker named Nadungamuwe Raja, who was born in India’s Mysore, has been carrying the main casket carrying the tooth relic of Lord Buddha in the annual pageant of the famed Buddhist Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy every August for 11 consecutive years.
The elephant died in the country’s Gampaha District.
Raja was considered to be the largest elephant in Asia and was taken on foot every year on the 90 kilometer journey from his home in Nadungamuwe to Kandy for the Perahera for his safety, the Colombo Page news portal reported.
Dr Harsha Dharmavijaya, the owner of the tusker, said the last rites of the elephant will be announced later.
According to a statement issued by President Rajapaksa’s office, he has instructed that the body of the tusker be preserved for future generations and named it as a national treasure.
The local folklore is that Raja was one of the two elephant calves gifted by the Maharaja of Mysore to a local monk near here for curing a long illness of one of his relatives.
The other elephant calf gifted to Sri Lanka, Nawam Raja, who carried sacred relics at the procession of Gangaramaya temple in Colombo died in 2011, another media report said. PTI CORR RUP RUP
This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.
Source: The Print