12th September 2022 08:59:05 Hours
The majestic cultural pageant of the Uva province, annual Mahiyanganaya Esala Perahera festival, commenced with the ritual of “Kap” planting at the Sri Sumana Saman Devalaya ended in festivity on 10 September 2022 with the last Randoli perahera where Chief of Defence Staff, General Shavendra Silva WWV RWP RSP VSV USP ndu psc MPhil, was invited to place the sacred casket of relics on the regally adorned tusker.
The Chief of Defence Staff was invited to place the casket on the tusker by the Most Venerable Urulewatte Dammasiddhi Sri Aththadassi Thero, the Chief Incumbent of ancient Mahiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya.
The Chief Prelate of Asgiriya Chapter, Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Mahanayake Thero, Rathnapura Maha Disawe Pradana Sanga Nayake Most Venerable Wathurakumbure Dammarathana Thero, Uva Binthenna Pradana Sanga Nayake Most Venerable Napatawala Dhammananda Thero, and many more prominent Buddhist monks had been present at this annual Buddhist festivity.
The event had attracted thousands of pilgrims from all over the country to this sacred site of Mahiyangana Raja Maha Vihara which is believed to be the site of Gautama Buddha’s first visit to the country, and is one of the Solosmasthanas; the 16 sacred religious locations in Sri Lanka.
According to legend, Prince Saman of the Deva tribe requested the Buddha for a token of presence that could be held high in reverence; thus he was granted a curl of hair from the Buddha’s head. The Prince enshrined the hair relic in the ancient Mahiyangana Stupa. Thus Mahiyangana became the first ever Stupa to be built in Sri Lanka.