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`Guruvayur Kesavan' remembered

Staff Reporter



ARRAY OF GIANTS: An elephant garlands the figure Guruvayur Kesavan, on the eve of Ekadasi celebrations in the temple town of Guruvayur on Saturday. — Photo: K. K. Najeeb

THRISSUR: Kerala's elephant-lovers gathered in the temple town of Guruvayur on Saturday to commemorate the 29th death anniversary of their favourite pachyderm: Guruvayur Kesavan. Accompanied by a herd of elephants from the Punnathoorkottah, `Gajarajan' (Elephant King) Padmanabhan garlanded the figure of Guruvayur Kesavan on the eve of `Ekadasi' celebrations at Krishna Temple.

Guruvayur Kesavan, who carried the thidambu (idol) of the deity of the Sreekrishna Temple, figures prominently in Guruvayur's bhakti lore.

Devotees never tire of praising the elephant's "majestic look, exceptional intelligence and amazing strength." Guidebooks to the temple, brought out by the Guruvayur Devaswom, devote entire sections to Kesavan.

Kesavan was gifted to the Devaswom by the Valiya Raja of Nilambur on January 4, 1922. The elephant was 10 years then. It went on to serve the temple for 54 years.

In 1973, the Devaswom conferred the title, `Gajarajan', on Kesavan.

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