Heiyantuduwa Raja (elephant)
Hambantota District, Sri Lanka
|Died||6 November 2002 (aged about 78)
Kandy District, Sri Lanka
|Resting place||National Museum of Colombo|
|Years active||1945 – 2002 in captivity|
and Henry Gunasekara
Heiyantuduwa Raja (elephant) (Sinhala:හෙයියන්තුඩුවේ රාජා) was a Sri Lankan elephant, which carried the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha casket in the Dalada Perahera for 11 years after the demise of Maligawa Raja. Heiyantuduwa Raja's tusks were each 7 ft 6 in (2.3 m) in length when he was living and it was considered as one the of longest tusks in the country.
He was captured from the Kattakaduwana jungle in Hambantota District. On 8 March 1945, the tusker had been public auctioned by then British Ceylon government at Hambantota Kachcheri and then William Gunasekara (also known as 'Heiyantuduwa Ralahami') of Heiyantuduwa in Biyagama had bought him for Rupees 10,500. Gunasekara was a wealthy landed proprietor and owned fourteen elephants at that era. Later Heiyantuduwa Raja was owned by his youngest son Henry Gunasekara of Kandy.
Heiyantuduwe Raja participated at the Esala Perahera in Kandy for several years. After the demise of Maligawa Raja he also carried the casket of tooth relic for 11 years from 1989 to 2000 with permission from Neranjan Wijeyeratne, former Diyawadana Nilame of Sri Dalada Maligawa. To carry the casket of tooth relic was an opportunity enjoyed by only a few elephants in Sri Lanka. Heiyantuduwe Raja had also carried the main casket of Buddha's relics at the Kelaniya Duruthu Perahera, Bellanwila Perahera and Gangaramaya Navam Perahera in addition to the Sri Dalada casket.
Heiyantuduwa Raja died on the 6 November 2002 and was about 78 years old at the time of his death. His skeleton had been exhibited for the public from the 29 January 2013 at the National Museum of Colombo. This skeleton was gifted by Henry Gunasekara in honour to this Historical National Heritage. Gunasekara had been offered U.S. Dollars 160,000/- by a Japanese company and despite this offer he had gifted it to the Sri Lanka government.
- ‘හෙයියන්තුඩුව රාජා’ගේ අස්ථීසැකිල්ල අද සිට ජාතික කෞතුකාගාරයේ ප්රදර්ශනයට.
Sri Lanka Government Official Website, Retrieved on 29 January 2013.
- යම් රටක වැදගත් දේ ජාතික උරුමයක් ලෙස ජාතියට ලබා දීම ලෝක සම්ප්රදායක්ට.
Sri Lanka Government Official Website, Retrieved on 31 January 2013.