The annual Navam Maha Perahera 2024 conducted by the Colombo Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple under the theme ‘Aga Nagaraye Peraharaka Pelahare Arumasiya’, commenced the street processions with the participation of several Government and Opposition political leaders, temple Dayaka Sabha members, devotees and a large crowd of the public.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa placed the casket carrying the Sacred Relics on the elephant in order for the procession to begin and take to the streets.


Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Navam Maha Perahera, Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana said, “Colombo Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple is a place of immense blessings for this country and has contributed greatly to changing the course of our country’s history.

“Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera resided during the British imperial era in the Gangarama Temple complex. He was instrumental in providing academic and intellectual knowledge that was needed by national patriots, Ven. Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera and the other founders of Panadurawadaya, Henry Steel Olcott and Anagarika Dharmapala, who engaged in an immeasurable national mission for the freedom of our country and for the creation of a Buddhist religious renaissance in Sri Lanka at that time. It is marked in our history that the Gangarama Temple became a prominent centre to carry out these important activities during that time.

 “After that, Gangarama Viharaya Chief Prelate Venerable Galboda Gnanissara Thera, through his talent and creative ability, has been running the Navam Maha Perahara as a cultural festival that adds new value and example to the country and the world.

“The Maha Sangharatna, including Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji Nayaka Thera, continues to maintain it as a cultural feast for the entire Sri Lankan people, regardless of political party, race, religion, caste or creed.

“We would like to express our sincere thanks to the large number of donors, all organisations and individuals who contribute for the success of the Navam Maha Perahera, besides the Government’s support every year. I pray that all those who contribute to Navam Maha Perahara to take this country to the world and bequeath our cultural heritage to the world will receive the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem.”

Indian High Commissioner Santosh Jha, Minister Harin Fernando, Deputy Minister Rohana Dissanayake, Members of Parliament Sarath Weerasekera and Sarath Fonseka, Senior Advisor to the President, Ruwan Wijewardene and other Government and Opposition party leaders, diplomatic representatives, representatives of temple Dayaka Sabha and a large number of the public were present at the commencement of the Navam Maha Perahara.