Dec 25, Colombo: The President will launch a special program in the future to provide elephants to those temples which conduct peraheras (processions), Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said.
He made these comments while participating in the 20th Mihindu Maha Perahera of the Ingiriya Imagira Sri Vijaya Bodhi Raja Maha Viharaya last evening (24).
Speaking at the occasion the Minister noted that Sri Lanka's Perahera culture has a great demand in Europe and that is why the British also supported the Kandy Esala Perahera during the colonial rule. "We can display our culture to the world through the Perahera," he said.
Acknowledging that it is a problem to find elephants for the Peraheras, the Minister said environmental organizations point out that elephants should be protected but our cultural heritage should also be protected. "Protecting elephants is also very important," he said.
The Minister said there is an opinion suggesting that elephants should be given for the temples where the processions are conducted.
Senaratne added that he has discussed the issue with the President and a committee has been appointed to study the need for the elephants. A suitable program to provide the elephants to the temples that conduct annual processions will be launched after the committee submits it report, the Minister said.