December 3, 2022
White sheet is put on frame of Sri Lanka’s maximum sacred elephant, Nadugamuwa Raja, who died on March 7, 2022. The the loss of life resulted in a move of mourners.

AFP by way of Getty Photographs

Sri Lanka’s maximum sacred elephant kicked the bucket on the age of 68 on Monday, prompting an outpouring of grief and a presidential order for the massive cadaver to be crammed and preserved for posterity.

Nadungamuwa Raja used to be crucial amongst 100 elephants utilized in an annual festival involving fire-eaters and drummers, tasked with wearing a golden casket of Buddhist relics on its again.

On Monday, a procession of mourners — together with schoolchildren, clergymen in saffron gowns and an aged woman with a Zimmer body — paid their respects to Raja, praying and touching its mighty tusks in reverence.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa decreed that the animal be declared a “nationwide treasure” and ordered its stays be preserved “for long term generations to witness,” his place of business stated.

Raja used to be because of be passed over to taxidermists in a while Monday for stuffing after Buddhist funeral rites were carried out, its proprietor stated via a spokesperson. 

Decked out in lighting, Raja carried the casket of relics at the once a year Esala Perahera festival, a big vacationer draw within the central town of Kandy — appearing the position maximum years from 2006 to 2021.

The elephant even had an armed escort of elite commandos after a 2015 incident when a motorcyclist virtually rammed it whilst on an day out to wait a temple rite.

Considered one of Raja’s predecessors, who used to be often referred to as Raja, carried the golden casket of 34 relics for precisely 34 years between 1953 and 1986.

When the older Raja died in 1988 on the age of 72, there used to be a huge outpouring of grief and the federal government declared a countrywide day of mourning.

The older Raja used to be additionally preserved and has its personal museum inside Kandy’s Temple of the Teeth compound, which accommodates a purported teeth of the Buddha.

Opting for a successor to Nadungamuwa Raja might be a long procedure.

The selected elephant must be from a specific caste with particular bodily traits to qualify.

When the elephant stands, seven issues — the 4 legs, its trunk, penis and tail — should all contact the bottom.

The animal should actually have a flat again, the tusks should be shaped within the form of a standard winnow and its peak should be about 12 ft.

An exception used to be made with Raja, who used to be simplest 10-and-a-half ft tall, as it used to be the tallest within the nation on the time.

Raja used to be born in India and used to be proficient to Sri Lanka via an Indian prince.

Elephants are a safe species in Sri Lanka however many are stored as pets as a result of they’re observed as standing symbols.

Rules were tightened in recent times to prohibit the seize of untamed elephants, making it punishable with loss of life.

Animal rights campaigners say captive elephants are continuously mistreated, a rate denied via temples and house owners of domesticated elephants.

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