Chief Custodian of The Temple of Tooth – Diyawadana Nilame
Diyawadana Nilame (chief custodian) has the custody of key of Silver casket of seven caskets 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 poojas and annual festivals. Responsibilities 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 dress is tailored use in 12 Yards of material for each item. Called Thuppottiya, Pachchawadama, Somaniya and Kawaniya, and 43 Yards all together. The dress consists of 14 parts. In terms of the tradition, for Kumbal Perahara, the dress of Nilame appears in white, while for Randoli Perahara, either golden or some other popper color is used. The costume is itched using golden thread.
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 of Lord 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 Ruhunu Katharagama Dewalaya and Sabaragamuwa Saman Dewalaya which conduct the annual perahera that are being second only to the Esala Perahera in Kandy