The unseen picture of ‘Ekadantha’

2017-03-21 00:05:53

The most docile of the tuskers in the stables of the Sri Dalada Maligawa - Ekadantha - the one tusk animal, has a vivid tale. He was brought into the Sri Dalada Maligawa stables when he was four. He had both tusks which were small, but one was decaying. No reason could be attributed as to the decay, but it never was restored, said the former Diyawadana Nilame Niranjan Wijeratne, during whose time the four-year-old Ekadnatha was brought to the Sri Dalada Maligawa.  
Their were only two other tuskers with the Sri Dalada Maligawa and with Ekadantha joining the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the stables swelled up to twelve.  
According to the former Diyawadana Nilame, there was a cabinet decision to sell three tuskers from Pinnawela in 1977. The former Health Minister Vimala Kannangara bought two, at twenty five thousand rupees. They were Ekadantha and Vasana. Ekadantha was gifted to the Sri Dalada Maligawa and Vasana to Kataragama Devale.  
The late Diyawadana Nilame Nissanka Wijeratne also bought a tusker from his personal funds at rupees twenty five thousand and gifted the animal to the Sri Dalada Maligawa - that is Kadira. He felt that Ekadantha was alone, and to keep company bought Kadira.  
The first time Ekadantha was taken in a procession of the Sri Dalada Maligawa was on the Karthika Mangalaya day in 1978. He had been trained by Mahout Seneviratne.  
Mrs. Kannangara was living in Kandy at Queen’s Hotel for sometime and the writer had seen her visiting the palace where Ekadantha was tied. Though some did not recognise the former Minister yet,  she had an untold interest in this tusker, which she kept to herself. One day she said that only a very few people knew her as the former Minister,”I gifted the tusker, because I thought the best place for this animal is the Maligawa. He could have eternal bliss by having the Sacred Relic of Gautama Buddha tied on his back, and after his period he would pass away to eternity.”  
Ekadantha,  the Sri Dalada Maligawa  tusker is docile, but for some reason or other he cannot stand the sight of Vasana of Sri Dalada Maligawa, another tusker. Ekadantha has piercing tusks, pin pointed and the base is sound and thick. Perhaps it would be due to the one tusks that he was carrying, after the other fell off due to a decay at the very young age of about five years.  
There was one thing in his life span and that is, he could not carry the golden casket during the night peraheras. He was only tied with the golden casket during the day perahera, coming down from the Adhana Maluwa, which he did with the utmost reverence   
Because of his one tusk, he would not be taken in the night perahera, as he was not a full tusker, although he lost his tusk due to natural causes. 

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