“Gajarajan” Guruvayoor Kesavan (1904-1976) was perhaps the most famous and celebrated elephant in Kerala, south India. Kesavan was donated to the Guruvayoor temple by the royal family of Nilambur in 1916 when he was about 10 years old.
He was 3.2 metres tall. The Guruvayoor Temple authority has erected a life-size statue in its precincts as mark of tribute to the services he has rendered to the presiding deity of the temple. The tusks of Kesavan can be still seen adorning the entrance to the main temple enclosure, along with a majestic picture of his. He was known for his devout behaviour towards the lord. Kesavan died on a very auspicious day of “Guruvayur Ekadasi”. He fasted for the entire day and dropped down facing the direction of the temple with his trunk raised as a mark of prostration.His death anniversary is still celebrated in Guruvauyur. Hundreds of elephants line up before the statue and the chief elephant garlands it.
Kesavan was conferred the title “Gajarajan” (King of elephants), a title bestowed by Guruvayoor Devaswom for the first time on elephants. This elephant also has a biographical full-length feature film (in Malayalam) with his own name as the title.
We keralites still remember him because he ws the one who have all the best features of an elephant !!