An elephant, gifted by the erstwhile Travancore king Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma to the famed Sree Padmanabha Swamy shrine here, died following prolonged illness.The female jumbo, named Mathilakam Darshini alias Darshini, died on Saturday.
It was believed to be aged between 55-58 years and was suffering from abdomen-related ailments for some time, sources here said.A darling of the devotees and the local people, the elephant had been a constant presence in various temple rituals especially during the annual 'arattu', the traditional procession in which the idol of the deity is taken for a holy bath." Darshini was very calm and nobody has raised any complaint against her so far," a royal family member said after offering tributes to the dead animal.
As per the temple records, Darshini and two other female jumbos were received from the forests of Western Ghats in the year 1966.As a mark of respect to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the elephants were given the names "Indira", "Priya" and "Darshini".King Chithira Thirunal, who liked the jumbo named Darshini very much, and gifted her to the Lord Padmanabha Temple then managed by the royal family.
Several people, including royal family members and former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan who is also a member of the temple administrative panel, offered last respects to the animal by adhering to COVID protocols.
Though there was a demand from the devotees to lay the jumbo to rest on the temple precincts or neary the shrine, it was later cremated at a forest department-owned land in Kulathupuzha near here due to space constrains, temple sources added.