A very high rank bestowed by the Sinhalese kings. It appears to have corresponded to the modern Orders. It may have originated in the members of the Order being entrusted with the care of the Hair Relic (Kesadhātu), which was brought to Sri Lanka in the reign of Moggallāna I (Cv.xxxix.49). This duty afterwards evidently became a mere formality. The word Kesadhātu may be an abbreviation of the fuller Kesadhātunāyaka.
We first come across the term in the time of Vijayabāhu I, when a Kesadhātu, Kassapa by name, became governor of Rohaṇa (Cv.lvii.65 f). Parakkamabāhu I conferred the title on his general, the Daṇḍādhināyaka Rakkha. Cv.lxx.19.