"We were all moved with tears rolling down our cheeks," one witness said about the emotional moment at the funeral.
For six decades, a man named Damodaran Nair worked with elephants and had a very special way with them. But when it came to his favorite elephant, Pallata Brahmadathan, the mahout would treat the gentle giant as if he were his own son and shared a bond unlike any other with him.
Before passing away from cancer on June 3, Damodaran expressed that he had one last wish, which was to see his favorite elephant one last time.
Although Damodaran breathed his last before the wish was fulfilled, his favorite elephant did travel 15 miles away over the course of 2 hours to pay respects at his funeral.
Since the year of 1996, the elephant was taken care of by Damodaran, who is also known as Omanchetan. The two shared a tight bond with each other and visited several festivals together in Kerala, India. The sight of the mahout and the elephant would often warm the hearts of people around them.
At his mahout's funeral, Brahmadathan raised his trunk and reached out to Damodaran's body while onlookers were brought to tears.
"When Brahmadathan lumbered to the funeral I couldn’t bear it. They loved each other like anything," said the elephant's handler, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The elephant's owner, Rajesh Palattu, spoke to IANS about the emotional moment and said, as quoted by Manorama Online, "Brahmadathan touched the body of Damodaran Nair with his trunk and then raised his trunk and lowered it and was indeed paying his last respects to the departed mahout. This led to the wife of Omanachettan breaking down and we were all moved with tears rolling down our cheeks. It was one of the most trying parting moments one could witness."
Talking about their relationship, Rajesh went on to say, "The bond and love between the two - Damodaran Nair and Brahmadathan was one to watch and emulate."
While speaking to The News Minute, Rajesh revealed, "Until last week, Omanachettan was active as Brahmadathan’s mahout. They developed a deep relationship over the past many years. He considered Brahmadathan as his son."
It was only a few days before his death when the mahout's health quickly took a turn for the worse. Right before he passed away, Rajesh had paid him a visit, and that is when Damodaran expressed his wish to see his favorite elephant one last time. But within minutes after he made his wish known, the dedicated mahout breathed his last.
"We decided to fulfill his last wish," Rajesh went on to say. And thus, he accompanied the elephant for the 15-mile journey from his house to where the body was kept.
Sad to see this , elephants are sensitive animals ,its heart touching to see this.— [email protected] (@13justflyaway) June 4, 2021
All those at the funeral saw an emotional goodbye shared by the elephant, and the video of the moment was widely shared on social media. Rajesh went on to say, "In my opinion, it was the best honor for Omanachettan. We considered Omanachettan as our family member. Brahmadathan, too, is our family member. It was a special relationship between the elephant and mahout. He was known for his skill to train elephants."
Cover image source: The News Minute/YouTube