Guruvayoor Padmanabhan was brought to Guruvayur by Cherukunnath Namboodiri as his devout offering, and was offered to Lord Guruvayurappan after performing the proper function of “Nadayiruthal”.
The legend goes that this Namboodiri had no children and he was spending his tearful days lamenting over his sad plight. Then Kunjhikkavu Namboodiri, an ardent devotee of Lord Guruvayurappan, who was famous for his “Purana Parayanam”, advised Cherukunnath Namboodiri that Lord Guruvayurappan would bless him with children if offered Him with an elephant. Accordingly Cherukunnath Namboodiri came to Guruvayur, performed “Bhajan” and prayed to offer Him an elephant, if he was blessed with a child. Lord Guruvayurappan showered His blessings on Cherukunnath Namboodiri who offered Him elephant and called him Padmanabhan.
When Padmanabhan was brought to Guruvayur, there were only one or two elephants here. As Cherukunnath illam was swelled with more and more children with His blessings, the number of elephants in Guruvayur temple also increased one by one with the coming of Padmanabhan.
Padmanabhan grew, through years, to be the most important of all elephants in Kerala, and wherever he was taken for Utsava, he was to be given the most prominent place in the procession. In all utsavam, if he was present, it was his privilege to carry on his head the “Thidambu”. He never tolerated any other elephant enjoying this right. As soon as the “Thidambu” was placed on his head, he would stretch the whole of his body forward, and raise his head to the maximum, so that he would appear to be the highest in the whole array of elephants. This posture would continue till the “Thidampu” was taken down after the procession, and thus he was able to maintain his kingly posture everywhere. He had never caused any injury to anybody throughout his life-time. Impressed by him, the Maharaja of Ambalapuzha awarded him with the precious prize, “Veerashringala”.