I would be doing an insult to my country as a Sri Lankan if I forget to mention the great cultural pagent; The Esala Perahera in Kandy.Though many things have been written and said about the perahera there is still some thing in it which never ceases to amaze us.
For those who don't know anything about this cultural pagent, I would like to say that it is indescribable in its splendour and exquisite as a creation.
Buddhists believe that the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is enshrined in a casket in the temple of tooth relic in Kandy. Every year that sacred casket is taken out from where it is devotedly deposited safely and reverently and taken around in a procession along the Kandy city during the month of August.This procession is very very beautiful because it announces the world our proud history which goes back to 2500 years.The perahera consists of various dancers,cultural items and especially a large number of elephants especially prepared for the perahera by multicoloured shiny clothes with various designs.
They are the most eye catching picture of the perahera except the beast of grandiose which steals the lime light of this special occasion. That is none other than the Tusker which has been selected to carry the sacred tooth relic on its back.The success of the entire operation solely lies on this beast and he knows it very well.That is why that never in the history of the esala perahera an elephant had dropped the casket or had taken a wrong turn or ran wild midst all these terrible noise of whips,drums, songs and high pitched sounds and more than any thing else; the fire rings used by the fire dancers.
"Nedungamuwe Raja"; one of the few tuskers remain in Sri Lanka (unfortunately the numbers are diminishing fast due to various reasons , especially killing for tusks) has carried the sacred casket this time and it is said that this elephant is very intelligent and has a mind of his own when it comes to take correct decisions without a mahout.
It is a complete wonder to think that a mammoth task like this, which needs the time, energy and brains of several hundred people is carried out precisely and accurately by a single beast and this is a tribute to that intelligence, patience and wisdom. Hats off to Nadungamuwe Raja . May you live long to carry out the tradition of Esala Perahera.
(I would very much like to read your comments whether they are criticisms, praise or queries.)