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Guruvayur temple elephant Gajaratnam Padmanabhan dies at 84

PTI Thrissur (Kerala) | Updated on February 26, 2020 Published on February 26, 2020

A file photo of the Guruvayur temple elephant Gajaratnam Padmanabhan.   -  C. Ratheesh Kumar

An elephant credited with carrying the “Thidambu” -- the miniature of the presiding deity of Lord Krishna of Guruvayur Temple-- for several decades during temple rituals died on Wednesday at the age of 84, a top Gurvayur Devaswom official said.

The elephant named Guruvayur Padmanabhan, who gained the title of ‘Gajaratnam’ due to his attractive features like long trunk touching the ground and well-carved shape, died at 2.10 pm, Guruvayur Devaswom Chairman K B Mohandas told PTI.

He said the tusker had been undergoing treatment for the last few weeks after it suffered swelling on its body.

With the death of Padmanabhan, the number of pachyderms in the elephant sanctuary managed by Guruvayur Devaswom has come down to 47, he said.

Padmanabhan, one of the oldest elephant in the captivity, was much sought after during the temple festivals across the state including famous Thrissur Pooram.

He got the highest pay of ₹2.22 lakh in 2014 for participating in famous Nenmara-Vellangi Vela festival in Palakkad district in 2004, temple officials said.

The elephant was kept at Anakkotta (the elephant sanctuary) located in the vicinity of the Guruvayur Temple.

The sanctuary managed by the Devaswom attracts several devotees and tourists visiting the temple town every year.

When Padmanabhan was brought to Guruvayur in 1954, there were only a few elephants there.

He was presented to the Guruvayoor temple by two brothers from Ottapplam in 1954, temple officials said.

Published on February 26, 2020
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