Chengalloor Dakshayani
SpeciesElephas maximus (Asian Elephant)
Bornc. 1930
Kerala, British Raj
Died5 February 2019
Nation fromIndia
Known forOldest known elephant in captivity
OwnerTravancore Devaswom Board

Chengalloor Dakshayani (c.1930 - February 5, 2019) was a female Asian elephant owned by Travancore Devaswom Board and kept at the Chenkalloor Mahadeva Temple in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India, which at the time of her death on February 5, 2019, was believed to be the oldest elephant in captivity in Asia. She was also known as Gaja Raja Dakshayani and as "Dakshayanamma" (mother Dakshayani) and "Gaja Muthassi" (elephant grandmother).


The Travancore royal family bought the elephant calf at Kodanad elephant camp near Ernakulam, and donated her to their Thiruvarattu Kavu temple at Attingal in 1949,[1] when she was 19 years old;[2][3] she was transferred to the Chenkalloor Mahadeva Temple in the late 1960s. The State Forest Department registered her age as 76 on July 18, 2007.[4][5] In 2016, when she became the oldest known elephant in Asia,[6] the Board applied to Guinness World Records to have her recorded as the oldest elephant in captivity, a record previously held by Lin Wang of the Taipei Zoo, who died in 2003 at the age of 86.[7][8][9] The Universal Records Forum, based in Kolkata, certified her as the oldest elephant in captivity;[10] by some accounts she was certified the record holder by Guinness and a postal cover was issued to celebrate the event.[11] The temple also prepared to give her a larger enclosure where she would not be chained.[12]

Chengalloor Dakshayani was still participating in temple rituals in 2017, but her parading was restricted after 2015.[1][7] There were complaints that it was cruel not to retire her.[13] In her last years she had trouble moving and her food was supplemented by hand feeding of pineapples and carrots. She died at around 3 p.m. on February 5, 2019 after collapsing in her shelter in a care facility in Pappanamcode;[11][14][15] she was 88[5][14][16] or 89.[8]


  1. ^ a b Cithara Paul (4 April 2017). "The 86-year old Guinness record holder who refuses to retire". The Week.
  2. ^ "World's Oldest Elephant Dakshayani Is A Kerala Temple's Pride". Asian Elephant Secretariat. 13 October 2016.
  3. ^ Sreedevi Jayarajan (6 February 2019). "'Granny Dakshayini', Asia's oldest captive elephant from Kerala passes away". The News Minute.
  4. ^ M. S. Vidyanandan (25 April 2016). "Meet Dakshayani - World's Oldest Elephant in Captivity". New Indian Express.
  5. ^ a b "Dakshayani, oldest Asian elephant, dies". The Hindu. 6 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Dakshayani becomes the eldest elephant in Asia". YouTube (video, 1 min 12 secs) (in Malayalam). Manorama News. 27 July 2016.
  7. ^ a b Revathi Rajeevan (27 July 2016). "At 86, world's oldest captive elephant is yet to retire". India Today.
  8. ^ a b "Gaja Raja Mutthashi Dhakshayani breathes her last at 89". Kaumudi. 5 February 2019.
  9. ^ Rana Das (25 July 2016). "At 86, Elephant 'Dakshayani' To Enter Guinness World Records". Kolkata 24x7.
  10. ^ "Kerala 'granny' jumbo eyes world record". India Times. 28 July 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Asia's oldest captive elephant Dakshayani dies at 88". The Tribune. 6 February 2019.
  12. ^ M. S. Vidyanandan (11 December 2016). "At 86, granny Dakshayani to get a chain-free spacious enclosure". New Indian Express.
  13. ^ "86-year-old Dakshayani is oldest captive elephant, should she be allowed to retire?". The News Minute. 28 July 2016.
  14. ^ a b "India's Oldest Captive 'Granny' Elephant Dies At 88". NDTV. Agence France-Presse. 7 February 2019.
  15. ^ "ഗജരാജമുത്തശ്ശി ദാക്ഷായണി ഇനി ഓർമ". Mathrubhumi (in Malayalam). 6 February 2019.
  16. ^ "'Oldest known elephant in captivity' dies at 88 in India". BBC News. 7 February 2019.