Mural of Guruvayur Kesavan at Thekkady Elephant Fort

published on July 12, 2008

GURUVAYUR: A mural was dedicated to legend tusker Guruvayur Kesavan at Thekkady.

The painting was done on the wall of the Elephant Fort and Cultural Centre at Thekkady.

The painting, with a size of 15 ft length and 5 ft width, was done by mural artist Nalin Babu, Trainer, Devaswom Mural Institute, Guruvayur, and his disciples Sajeesh and Jayan in one month.

The painting explains the history of Guruvayur Kesavan which served Sree Guruvayurappan for many decades.

It is for the first time that the story of tusker Guruvayur Kesavan was used as a theme for a mural painting, said Nalin Babu.

More about Guruvayur Kesavan

From Wikipedia –

Gajarajan Guruvayoor Kesavan (1904 – December 2, 1976) is perhaps the most famous and celebrated Elephant of Kerala, South India. Kesavan was donated to the Guruvayoor Hindu temple by the royal family of Nilambur in 1916 when he was about 10 years old. It is a common custom in Kerala to donate elephants to the deity of the temple as an offering.

Standing over 3.2 meters tall, Kesavan was known for his devout behavior. Kesavan died on “Guruvayur Ekadasi,” considered a very auspicious day. He fasted for the entire day and dropped down facing the direction of the temple with his trunk raised as a mark of prostration. The anniversary of his death is still celebrated in Guruvauyur. Hundreds of elephants line up before the statue and the chief elephant garlands it. Kesavan was conferred the unique title “Gajarajan” (Elephant King), by the Guruvayoor Devaswom.

The Guruvayoor Devaswom erected a life-size statue of Keshavan in its precincts as tribute to the services he rendered to the presiding deity of the temple. His tusks, along with a majestic portrait of the elephant, can be still seen adorning the entrance to the main temple enclosure.


It was one of the majestic elephant which served the Lord in all its sincerity and uniqueness. Valiya Raja of Nilambur once prayed to the Lord to save his family and property from the enemies attack. He promised to offer one of his many elephants if his wish is fulfilled. His wish was fulfilled and he offered an elephant which later became the famous Guruvayur Kesavan.

GURUVAYUR DEVASWOM On his arrival, Kesavan was 10 years old and elephant Padmanabhan was the undisputed king. Young Kesavan acquired all the kingly gestures and nobleness of Padmanabhan and even excelled him. He would bend his front-legs only before those who holds Lord’s Thidambu to enable them to climb upon him, all others were to climb by his behind-legs. He never caused any bodily harm to anyone. He sometimes was called “Lunatic Kesavan”, but never spoiled any sanctity. Even if he became wild outside Guruvayur, he would straightaway come to Guruvayur, go round the temple and stood where he used to be chained.

In 1973, first time in history, the Golden Jubilee of the services of an elephant to the temple was celebrated. Kesavan was conferred upon the honour of “GAJARAJAN” (king of elephants ).

GURUVAYUR DEVASWOM However, on famous Ekadasi day, 2nd December 1976, Kesavan fell ill while Thidambu was placed on his head. He couldn’t hold on his legs. The Thidambu was soon transferred to another elephant and Kesavan was brought to the Kovilakam compound. He died in front of the Lord with his trunk stretched in front. He was 72, 3.2metres tall, and participated in every ceremony at the temple.Kerala’s biggest and grandest elephant, Gajarajan Kesavan, served the Lord and people for the long 54 years. Who have seen him will never forget Kesavan. To commemorate him, a 12 feet high statue has been erected in front of Sreevalsam rest house.


Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

7 + two =

Latest Articles from Dharma Smriti

Did You Know?