Big loss to Temple town
Chennai: Devotees and officials of Thanjavur Big Temple were saddened by the demise of temple elephant Vellaiammal, 63, on Saturday morning. According to temple officials, the jumbo died in sleep.
“The elephant had knee problem but it lived its full life. It is to be noted that Vellaiammal was the oldest surviving temple elephant,” said an official. As of now, the historic temple has no other elephant. Vellaiammal was buried in yaanai madapam near the temple.
It is said veteran actor late Sivaji Ganesan donated the elephant to Punnainallur Mariamman temple, during the release of his blockbuster film Veera Pandia Katta Bomman in 1959.
Due to financial crunch the elephant was transferred to Big Temple in 1984. The elephant was one among the four elephants donated by the actor. While one elephant was donated to Tiruvanaikoil, the other was sent to Meenakshi temple.
The fourth elephant was said to be donated to an American zoo.