Gaja Vahanam

Glory of Padmavathi Devi on Gaja Vahanam

Gaja Seva (Elephant Service) occupies a prominent place in Tiruchanur because Goddess Padmavati Devi is the incarnation of ‘GAJA LAKSHMI’.

The Avataram of the Devi in the Padma Sarovaram at Tiruchanur is narrated at length in the Padma Puranam and the Varaha Puranam.

The Lord of the Hills is Srinivasa with His inseparable consort entrenched on his holy chest (“Agalagillen Irayum Enru Alarmel Manga Urai Marba- Nammalwar”). The “Thani Kovil Nachiyar” is seen only at her Avatara Sthalam at Tiruchanur.

The holy shrine is resplendent with big, broad processional streets and the huge temple tank. The majestic Rajagopuram, the sparkling gold inlaid Vimanam and Dwaja Sthambham create a regal and divine aura to enshrine the Goddess who is praised as one residing in a golden temple by the Srisuktham (“Hiranya Prakaram”).

Incarnation of Padmavathi

  • Whenever Lord incarnates, Sri Mahalakshmi also incarnates and helps Him in all His endeavours.
  • When Lord incarnated as Sri Rama, She incarnated as Seetha. When Lord incarnated as Sri Krishna She incarnated as Rukmini.
  • When Lord incarnated in this Kaliyuga as Sri Srinivasa, Sri Mahalakshmi has incarnated as Sri Padmavathi Devi.

Garuda for Venkateswara and Gaja for Padmavathi

Among the Vahan Sevas in the Brahmotsavam in Vishnu temples, generally the Garuda Seva is considered to be the most auspicious as Vishnu is ‘Garuda Vahanan’ and the celestial Garuda is the servant, friend, transport, throne and flag to the Almighty.

All the other Vahans get opportunity to carry the Lord on special occasions only and are all believed to be an amsa of Garuda.

But at Tiruchanur Padmavati shrine the Gaja Vahanam and the Theerthavari on the Shuklapaksham Panchami Thidhi are renowned drawing a maximum number of devotees to participate and witness the marvelous festivities.

The Gaja Vahan is very special because elephants have a close association with Sri Mahalakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. The auspicious flag hoisted to commemorate the festival (Dwajarohanam) too will have an elephant picture and elephants adorn the Dwaja Sthambam (Flag post) too.

Lakshmi on Golden Elephant

Gaja Lakshmi rides on Gaja Raja. The elegant Gaja Lakshmi takes a majestic ride on the a mighty golden elephant in the pleasant night of fifth day during the Karthika Brahmotsavam of Goddess Padmavathi Devi.

Like Garuda Vahana to Lord Srinivasa, Gaja Vahanam is considered the most important Vahanam to Padmavathi Devi during Brahmotsavam.

Acharya Vedantha Desikan in his stotra ‘Sri Sthuti’ of Sri Mahalakshmi has very vividly picturised the abhishekam performed by Gaja Raja with kanaka (golden) kalasham to Sri Mahalakshmi as soon as She emerged out of Ksheerasagara or Milky Ocean.

The Gajas serving Sri Padmavathi Devi, the very incarnation of Sri Mahalakshmi according to Pancharatra agama are the four Sacred Vedas.

Symbol of Wealth, Majesty and Richness

Gaja, the elephant is always the symbol of Wealth, Majesty and Richness. Sri Mahalakshmi who is an abode of all universal Riches sits Majestically on the mighty Golden Gaja Vahanam decked with Sahasranama Kasula Haram of Lord Sri Venkateswara which He sends with all His affection from Tirumala for this occasion.

Sri Mahlakshmi takes a majestic ride on the colossal Swarna Gaja Vahana blessing the whole Humanity. The mighty Gaja occupies a Pride place like Sri Mahalakshmi.

Sri Mahalakshmi on majestic Gaja Vahaman preaches the world the principle of Sharanagati (self surrender), that with staunch faith and devotion if we surrender ourselves totally at the lotus feet of the divine couple, Sriman Narayana and Sri Mahalakshmi, we are sure to get all our desires fulfilled here and hereafter.

Splendor of Tirumala & Tirupati

In the entire Universe we cannot come across another place like Tirumala & Tirupati. The glory, grandeur and splendor of these temples are inexplicable. Thousands of devotees throng this divine place every other second.

The divine couple Sri Srinivasa and Sri Padmavathi Devi are showering their blessings on devotees.


The glory and grandeur of Lord Venkateswara is due to His inseparable attachment with His divine consort Padmavathi Devi. All Srutis and Smrutis expound the glory of Sri Mahalakshmi. The periphery of Her glory is neither known to the Lord nor to Herself because Her glory knows no boundaries.

When we visit to Tirupati, First we have to offer our prayers to Sri Padmavati Devi and then visit to Tirumala to offer our prayers to Lord Venkateswara. Her grace is very essential for gaining the favour of the Lord because Lord will distribute His divine activities at her instance. 

The flag staff hoisted to commemorate Dwajarohanam has an 'ELEPHANT' symbol as it is dear to Ammavaru.

*Data Source - Saptagiri Magazine