The Udarata Mul Enduma has a history which transcends cultural context. It is in fact the Enduma or dress resorted to not just by those who reside in the kanda udarata but other parts of the country as well. It has taken a life of its own, particularly during weddings and especially during the ceremony which more or less depends on the very texture of the dress, the Esala Perahera in Kandy. This year, as with previous years, decades, and centuries, the Mul Enduma for the Perahera will be designed and fitted on by the Jayarathna family, more to the point PVS Jayarathna.
Jayarathna comes from a noble ancestry. His family has been involved with the pageant for more than 200 years. Customs tend to be passed down from one generation to another, and for Jayarathna the custom of fitting and dressing the Mul Enduma on the nilame has been with his family almost as a birthright.
PVS Jayarathna, as befitting that same custom, will be involved also with the fitting of the Mul Enduma for various other pageants such as the Katharagama, Ratnapura, Bellanvila, Mahiyangana, Badulla, Kelaniya, and Kotte pageants. And all for free: Again, as befitting custom, this practice has been discharged by his family voluntarily, committed in the name of tradition and history.
At a time when everything has been commercialised even the Mul Enduma, it seems, has been converted to a commodity by those who are clueless about its real, intrinsic value, the nation owes the Jayarathna family. And it is not just the Mul Enduma: PVS Jayarathna is involved with dressing the entire pageant, not just the nilames. A hefty task no doubt, and one on account of which our cultural firmament has become richer by the day.