Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Guruvayur Kesavan, a gentle temple pachyderm, Guruvayur

Guruvayoor Kesavan's Statue at Guruvayur. en.wikipedia.org

Once well trained, many elephants are known to have good behavior throughout their life-span and do their duty commanded by the Mahout with dedication. One such a famous temple elephant was Gajarajan Guruvayur Kesavan, an immortal pachyderm in the history of Guruvayur Hindu temple, Kerala.  He died on 2 December  1976 at the ripe age of 72.

Once donated  by the royal family of Nilambur in 1916, Guruvayur Kesavan, standing over 3.2 meters tall, was known to have excellent behavior all through his life at the temple. His day of death  happened to be  Ekadasi day, considered an auspicious day to die for a human, according to Hindu beliefs. He fasted for the entire day silently and did not take a modicum of food and, at last, dropped down dead facing the direction of the temple with his trunk raised as a mark of prostration before Lord Sri Krishna. An interesting fact is his death anniversary is still celebrated in Guruvauyur in memory of long and quiet services to the lord. 
Besides,  there is a a life-size statue of Keshavan erected  by the Guruvayoor Devaswom, a testimony to his long services to this popular temple and for his excellent behavior. On that day, many elephants line up before the statue of Kesavan and the chief elephant garlands the statue. Kesavan was conferred the unique title "Gajarajan" (Elephant King), by the Guruvayoor Devaswom (temple authority). The elephant was well-known through out Kerala  and there was a Malayalam feature film on  Guruvayur Kesavan, released after his death and his story - his long association with the temple was also portrayed in a television serial on Surya TV.

Tit-bits:

 
If Kesavan, temple elephant had a good name for his gentle behavior, by the same token, there was a rogue elephant that gained considerable notoriety in 2006 among the media and people in Kerala and other neighboring states. It was called  Kolakolli (Murder Murderer, Master Executioner) or Chakkamadan (Jack fruit Freak). He was fond of jack fruits and spent most of his time under the jack fruit trees  and was active in the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary near Thiruvananthapuram, Capital of Kerala State. He was responsible for  killing 12 people in and around Peppara over a span of seven to eight years. His uncontrolled behavior went far beyond the limit and the government was very much concerned about the safety of people living near the
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary. After massive hunt lasting weeks, he was finally captured  and  kept in captivity. After some time, he died while in captivity due to Cardiac arrest.
 

Ref:
"On the trail of a `rogue' elephant". hindu.com. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2011-05-28.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolakolli
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guruvayur_Keshavan

http://www.guruvayurdevaswom.org/kesavan.html
The Hindu : National : `Guruvayur Kesavan' remembered