Chief Custodian

Chief Custodian of the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic |Diyawadana Nilame

‘DiyawadanaNilame’ has the custody of the key of the first casket out of the seven golden caskets where the Sacred Tooth Relic is enshrined, as he is the lay custodian of the Sacred Tooth Relic. This position is recorded in the ‘Dathuwansa’, the chronicle of tooth relic, as ‘Dhathurakkadikari’. Diyawada Nilame also bears the responsibility of organizing daily rituals and annual festivals. Also he holds the responsibility of assets and properties of Maligawa and the regulation of duties of others. Officials in the service of sacred tooth relic are also entrusted to him. He is also duty bound to welcome foreign diplomats and other local and foreign delegations.
The official costume of ‘Diyawadana Nilame’is the upcountry ceremonial dress (The Mul Anduma – Traditional Sinhala Costume Hailing from the days of the Royal Kandyan Kingdom). The dress is tailored using a total of 48 yards, 12 Yards of material for each item called Thuppottiya, Pachchawadama, Somaniya and Kawaniya. The dress consists of 14 parts. In keeping with tradition, the ‘DiyawadanaNilame’ wears a dress of white for Kumbal Perahara, while for Randoli Perahara either golden or some other suitable bright color is used. It’s a specialty that the dress is woven with golden thread.

Dr. Pradeep Nilanga Dela - Diyawadana Nilame of the Sri Dalada Maligawa.

British rulers, who colonized the old Ceylon in 1815, handed over the main lay guardianship of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha and the Temple of Tooth together with the castle premises to the Chief Custodian or Diyawadana Nilame. Every Diyawadana Nilame has respectably safe guarded the sacred tooth ofLord Buddha while performing the required pooja and other traditional rituals from eons. In 2005; a time of dire importance to have a well- suited and committed Diyawadana Nilame, Mr. Pradeep Nianga Dela participated in the election with the required and befitted background as he had gained enough experience which he received from being the Basnayake Nilame in the historical SamanDewalaya in 1999 and Basnayake Nilame in the historical RuhunuKatharagamaDewalaya in 2001.

It is very significant that he had been the Basnayake Nilame in two main Dewalaya in Sri Lanka simultaneously. As mentioned above, the experience he had received is immense from being the Basnayake Nilame of RuhunuKatharagamaDewalaya and Sabaragamuwa SamanDewalaya which conduct the annual perahera that are being second only to the Esala Perahera in Kandy
Diyawadana Nilames of the Sri Dalada Maligawa who became the Lay Custodian of the Sacred Tooth Relic Since 1814​

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