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Royal welcome for temple elephant in Trivandrum

Are you a animal lover, if yes then move to kerela and get a magnificent welcome by elephants.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 09:40 IST

In a gesture which will please many animal lovers, especially elephant lovers, across the world, an elephant , which has participated in several religious processions in South India, was recently accorded a magnificent reception on its maidenvisittoKeralacapital Thiruvananthapuram.

As an aristocratic Gajaratnam Guruvayoor Padmanabhan started his journey to a temple in Thiruvananthapuram, he was greeted by an unprecedented outpouring of love and respect for his having spent more than five decades in the service of the Lord.

Padmanabhan, who holds the title of 'Gajaratnam' or, the king of elephants, occupies a pride of place at the famed Guruvayoor temple in Kerala's Thrissur District.

Presented to the temple in January 1954, Padmanabhan has carried the 'Thangathidambu" or, the symbolic idol of Lord Krishna for nearly 51 years.

The civic honour was essentially a tribute to Padmanabhan's calm and disciplined behaviour and never going berserk at any of the mammoth temple gatherings.

During his walk, Padmanabhan was escorted by five decked-up elephants to a temple as he walked majestically through the city while crowds showered flower petals.

"Actually it's a civic reception possibly unprecedented in its kind. The civic reception has been given by the citizens of Trivandrum for Guruvayoor Padmanabhan, which is the largest elephant in the Guruvayoor Devashram. There are 60 elephants and he is truly a magnificent animal. It is a matter of great pleasure for us that this elephant which has already put in more than 51 years in the service of the Lord is being given this kind of a reception," said E. K. Bharathbhushan, Secretary of the Devaswom Department, which administers and controls more than 2000 temples in Kerala.

Hundreds of people participated in the procession to welcome the legendary elephant. It was a colourful sight for many people and several foreigners who were present there. "It is a wonderful event and lots of people are celebrating the arrival of the elephant," said Anna, a Swedish tourist.

With folded hands and a prayer on their lips, residents of the Trivandrum prayed for the well-being of their beloved pachyderm. Special garlands were made and lamps were lit in his honour.

The elephant also holds a record for the highest fee collected (about 5,000 dollars) for participating in a temple procession in April 2004.

First Published: Jan 21, 2006 09:40 IST