Gajaratnam Guruvayur Padmanabhan, one of the most majestic elephants in the State, died at Guruvayur on Wednesday. It was 80.
One of the oldest elephants of the Guruvayur Devaswom, Padmanabhan had been undergoing treatment for the past two weeks after it developed swelling on its body. It died by afternoon on Wednesday.
High procession fee
Padmanabhan was a much sought-after elephant for festivals, including for Thrissur Pooram. In 2004, it set a record for the highest procession fee of ₹2.25 lakh for a day for parading at the Nenmara-Vallanki Vela. Padmanabhan was offered to Guruvayur Sreekrishna Temple by E.P. Brothers, Ottappalam, in 1954.
The elephant, which carried the golden idol of Guruvayurappan for the Arat since 1976, was venerated by devotees. It had a huge fan following due to its majestic looks and cool behaviour. It had been bestowed with many titles, including Gajaratnam and Gajachakravarthy, considering its attractive features such as its long and well-carved tusks.
With the death of Padmanabhan, the number of elephants in the devaswom has come down to 47. Its body will be buried after postmortem examination on Thursday, sources said.
The Forest Department on December 7, 2019 banned the parading of Guruvayur Padmanabhan and Guruvayur Valiya Keshavan at festivals due to health-related issues. Following protests, the department formed a committee to examine the health condition of the tuskers. The committee on February 3 allowed Padmanabhan to participate in temple rituals. However, the elephant developed health issues after a week.