Saturday, September 14, 2013

Vellaiyammal, the Big Temple Elephant (no more)

You all know that The Thanjavur Big Temple, also called as Brihadeeswarar Temple is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architecture pinnacle of Cholas, built thousand years ago by RajaRaja Cholan (in 1010). Vellaiyammal was a 63 year old elephant donated to Thanjavur Mariamman Koil Temple by veteran actor Shivaji Ganesan when she was a year old, shifted to Big Temple in later days.

RIP Vellaiyammal, The Big Temple Elephant
I visited the Big Temple during its millennium year of built and find the Vellaiyammal blessing the devotees and tourist entering the temple, by standing between the first and second gopuram (tower). The elephant seemed very kind being, moving side-by-side constantly, wore a neatly drawn bar on its forehead and stars on each ear. I stood there sometime watching its activity and captured few shots (flash off) before moving inside the temple without a mind to move on.

During my childhood I fear a lot for elephants and every time a mahout drives elephant across our street I would go and stand on our balcony to watch it safely. Before the ban imposed on elephants being used for begging on streets in our state, we could see temple elephants drove by mahouts on streets to make their own collection out of elephant’s free time. Every time I hear a bell sound, I would rush out to look for elephant and so was my affection toward them even I still bear little fear for them, I love the pachyderm sincerely.

Blessed by Big Temple elephant
Vellaiyammal was suffered from knee pain for the last seven years, due to old age, made her unable to lie or sleep properly. The elephant had been on stand for last few years, slept only by slanting on the wall and was often fell ill to get treated by doctors, breathed her last after fell down at the early hours of morning today. Hearing this I couldn't avoid recollecting the moment stood in front of her and watching the majestic beauty, inviting us into the Big Temple.

12 comments:

Pooja Mittal said...

Omg, poor elepant sleeping also slanting on the wall.. :(
I love elephants and us to go on elephant rides very often..
Keep in touch,
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TexWisGirl said...

oh, poor old dear! i hate when animals get old...

Betsy Adams said...

Ah----the death of animals is always hard to accept even though Vellalyammal obviously was older and in pain. So glad you saw her --and got photos. Great memories!!!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

Lakshmi said...

Thats very sad to know ..

Indrani said...

Oh! That is so sad. I have a picture of her from my visit to the temple.

ashok said...

the gentle giant...nice of you to remember her in you post

Destination Infinity said...

You were lucky to see the elephant and capture the moment in your camera. Looks like a majestic elephant.

Destination Infinity

deeps said...

It was when I visited Madura Meenakshi Temple, the first time I got to sit on an elephant :P
This one looks more majestic,
at least when it was around

Namrata said...

Oh..she was really beautiful and majestic...hope her soul rests in peace...it feels bad when the someone, even animals who are attached to you emotionally and you learn their sudden death..I can understand as I also had cried when my pet had died.

Jyoti Mishra said...

I find elephant as a most curious animal..
so big and so innocent.

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Thanks for the lovely post. Sad that the poor pachyderm is no more. RIP Vellayiammal.

Twilight Man said...

I love elephants! They are friendly and kind animals. I am sad to hear of the elephant's passing. It was so suffering for its big size.

I still see elephants being used to offer blessings for tourists and folks in Thailand for a fee. They even trained elephants to play football matches for tourists to watch in Thailand.