The remembrance of Gajaraja Guruvayur Kesavan, one of the most celebrated elephants in Kerala, was held in an emotionally-charged atmosphere at Guruvayur on Friday.
Twenty-five jumbos of the Devaswom-owned elephant yard marched down to the Sreevalsam Ankanam, where the statue has been placed, and lined up before the statue of the legendary elephant for a few minutes before paying homage.
Later, the elephants paid their respects by raising their trunks as a mark of respect while team leader Guruvayur Padmanabhan paid floral tributes to it.
Hundreds of devotees also thronged on the temple premises to witness the solemn ritual performed by the elephants.
Over the years, the homage to Guruvayur Kesavan has acquired the status of a ceremony which is being held on the eve of the famous Ekadasi festival every year.
It was Valiya Raja of Nilambur, who had gifted the 10-year-old Kesavan to the Devaswom on January 4, 1922, and the elephant served the temple for as many as fifty-four years.
The elephant died on one fateful Ekadasi day in 1976. The Devaswom will conduct ‘Udayasthamana Pooja’ on Saturday.
The Guruvayur Devaswom will perform the Vilakkucelebrations on the day.
An ezhunnellippu procession accompanied by panchavadyam, led by percussion maestros, will be held in the morning and evening.
Elephant Guruvayur Padmanabhan will carry the ‘Swarnakkolam’ of the deity. On Ekadesi day, a mass feast will also be held for all the devotees.
The renowned Panjarathna Keerthanalapanam, a music concert by around 100 musicians, associated with the Chembai Music Fest, was also held at the Melpathur Auditorium at the Sree Krishna Swamy temple on Friday.