Currently, there are only five elephants which are suitable to carry the sacred relics at the Sri Dalada Maligawa Esala Perahera, Diyawadana Nilame (DN) Pradeep Nilanga Dela Bandara told the Daily Mirror.
He said there was a shortage of domesticated elephants to participate in the Dalada Maligawa Perahera.
"The Dalada Maligawa tusker Indi Raja, Chief tusker Wasana of the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya, the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya tusker, Millangoda Podi Raja and the tallest elephant in the country Nadungamuwa Raja are the five elephants suitable for this purpose," the Diyawadana Nilame said.
He said an elephant should be eight and a half to nine feet in height, should be more than 30 years of age with tusks of at least three feet long to participate in the Perahera.
“Though the other elephants have the equal qualifications they do not have the experience to walk in the Sri Dalada Maligawa Perahera,” the DN said. “In 2005 more than 100 elephants were used in the Perahera while in 2019 it was reduced to 80.”
The DN said the number of elephants could in the future be reduced to between 50 and 20 because of the lack of suitable domesticated elephants.
Blurb -- An elephant should be eight and a half to nine feet in height, should be more than 30 years of age with tusks of at least three feet long to participate in the Perahera. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)