CK Ceramic Elephant with KANDULA

Kandula is a famous war elephant mentioned in the Sinhala chronicle Mahavamsa. According to the chronicle, when King Dutugemunu of Sri Lanka (101–77 BC) was born, many items of value were said to have appeared spontaneously, which were found and brought in by various people as gifts to the newborn.

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A 12th Century inscription on a stone seat at Polonnaruwa records that King Nissanka Malla sat upon it while watching elephant fights. These fights were staged for the sole entertainment of nobles. Elephants were used for all the important ceremonial occasions, especially where pomp and pageantry were required. The annual Perahera in Kandy, which dates back nearly 220 years, brings together well over a hundred elephants that parade the streets during the nights on certain pre-determined days in July-August each year. New Year festivities in Sri Lanka featured elephants in various sports and competitive combat. Elephant fights were a popular form of sport in early times called ‘Gaja Keliya,’ in the vernacular. The Sri Lankan elephant population is now largely restricted to the dry zone in the North, East and Southeast of Sri Lanka. A significant number of elephants are found in the main national parks of Sri Lanka, namely Udawalawe, Yala, Lunugamwehera, Wilpattu & Minneriya apart from a few who live outside protected areas.

Kandula is a famous war elephant mentioned in the Sinhala chronicle Mahavamsa. According to the chronicle, when King Dutugemunu of Sri Lanka (101–77 BC) was born, many items of value were said to have appeared spontaneously, which were found and brought in by various people as gifts to the newborn. Among them was a regal elephant found by a fisherman named KANDULA. The elephant was named after its finder and became the companion of King Dutugemunu, serving as his mount during the wars that led to the unification of Sri Lanka. The climactic duel between King Elara and King Dutugemunu is said to have occurred near Anuradhapura where the two kings fought whilst mounted on elephants; Dutugemunu mounting Kandula Tusker and Elara mounting Maha Pambata Tusker. King Ealara is said to have been slain in this historic dual.

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