Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Temple

Chief Custodian

Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Dewala is headed by Basnayake Nilame. The first name of Basnayaka Nilame position is “Maha Bethme” and it is said that the first person who held this position was the King Dutugemunu’s relative or uncle, Goraharadugama Bhatiatissa Bamunu Kumara of Giruwapattu.

Thus, the position of Mahabethme, which has existed since time immemorial, was changed to Basnayake Nilame by a committee appointed during the British rule, and the authority of that position was given to the hereditary lineages, and the appropriate persons were appointed.

Thus, the last Basnayake Nilame who held the position of Basnayake Nilame through tradition is Punchi Banda Ulvita Nilame. He held the position till 1930 and in 1931 P.B. The Katugaha Nilame will be appointed to this position according to the voting system.

The term of office of the Basnayaka Nilamewaya was ten years and by the 1980s it was limited to five years.

Among the duties of the Basnayake Nilamewarya, the management of movable and immovable property owned by the temple, holding the festival, visiting the deities during the processions, controlling the offerings received by the temple, implementing social care services through the temple fund, etc. are the main ones.

Currently, Mr. Dishan Gunasekara Basnayake Nilamet is in charge of this position and he was elected to the position in September 2020. Earlier, he also held the position of Basnayake Nilam of Devinuwara Sri Vishnu Utpalavanna Maha Temple.