This tiny jumbo sculpture had been neglected for long despite its undisputed connections with the history and legends. But, 'kallana', the rare elephant statue in granite located near the eastern entrance of the famed Padmanabha Swamy temple here, is now all set to be restored to its past glory as authorities have finally decided to reclaim and conserve it.
Located on the banks of the temple pond at the eastern entrance of the shrine, the three-feet-tall structure has been a favourite of devotees and history buffs in the state capital. Though there was no concrete record to establish its antiquity and origin, many historians believe that the sculpture was as old as the shrine.
Some others believe that the "Kallana" was built during the reign of the erstwhile Travancore king Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma (1757-1798) as a guardian of the place comprising the Lord Padmanabha Temple.
Only half of the statue could be visible above the surface of the ground due to road laying and other construction works in the area over the years. There was not even a railing to protect the wayside monument. Street vendors used the granite statue for keeping their articles, while for many pedestrians it was a way-side seat to take quick rest.
Executive Officer, Padmanabha Swamy Temple, V Ratheesan said the temple administration has decided to renovate and conserve the granite statue. The renovation would be made using the temple fund under the Swadeshi Darshan scheme, he said.
"The structure had been on a neglected state for many years. We have now decided to renovate it following the interest of devotees and public," he told PTI.
A protective wall would be erected around the structure, but a final decision on the conservation plan would be made after consulting with the Archaeology department.
"We want to elevate the structure to the surface level. But, we cannot do it without the consent of the Archaeology department as its a monument," he said. The structure is located on the Public Works Department (PWD) site, he said.