Mangalamkunnu Karnan (born 1957–1961 – died 28 January 2021) was an elephant owned by the family which owns the largest number of captive elephants in Kerala, only behind Guruvayur devaswom.[1] Karnan was known for his ability to raise his head up for a long time,[2] thus able to win in many Thalappokkam (Heads-up) competitions[3][4] giving him the name Nilavinte Thampuran, which translates into English as Emperor of Heights.[5] Karnan was one of the celebrity elephants in Kerala with a large fan following.[6]

Mangalamkunnu Karnan (Nilavinte Thampuran)
SpeciesElephas maximus (Asian Elephant)
Bihar, India
Died28 January 2021 (aged 60-63)
Ottapalam, India
Nation fromIndia
Years active1990-2019
Known forThrissur Pooram, other poorams, Thalappokkam
OwnerMangalamkunnu Tharavadu
Height2.98 m (9 ft 9 in)
Named afterKarnan

Mangalamkunnu Ganapathy (now deceased), Mangalamkunnu Karnan, and Mangalamkunnu Ayyappan are the most famous elephants in the tharavadu.[7] In 1989, Karnan was repatriated from Chapra in Bihar by the Manissery Haridas group. It was in 2000 that the Mangalamkunnu family bought Karnan.[8] For the ninth year in a row, Karnan won the title for the Thalappokkam competition at the Sreekumara Ganesha Temple.[9] He was also known for winning many Thalappokkam competitions across Kerala. He has acted in some movies and TV commercials.[10] Along with the Malayalam movies Narasimham and Katha Nayagan, Karnan has appeared in the Bollywood movie Dil Se..[11] Due to age-related issues, Karnan died (aged 60 to 63) on 28 January 2021 after suffering a cardiac arrest.[12][13][14][15]



See also



  1. ^ WakeupMedia (2018-05-01). "മംഗലാംകുന്ന് കർണ്ണൻ". wakeUpMedia. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  2. ^ "Popular elephant Karnan, known for its 'raised head', dies at 65 in Kerala - The New Indian Express". Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  3. ^ ഹരിഗോവിന്ദന്‍, -വി. "Mangalamkunnu Karnan as the emperor of the heights". Mathrubhumi (in Malayalam). Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  4. ^ "കേരളത്തിലെ ഗജരാജാക്കന്മാർ". Janam TV. 2020-08-15. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  5. ^ "ആനകളുടെ തലയെടുപ്പിലെ രാജാവ്, മംഗലാംകുന്ന് കര്‍ണ്ണന്‍ ചരിഞ്ഞു". (in Malayalam). Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  6. ^ "Elephant lovers mourn death of popular Kerala tusker Mangalamkunnu Karnan". The News Minute. 2021-01-28. Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  7. ^ "മംഗലാംകുന്ന് കര്‍ണ്ണന്‍ - Mangalamkunnu Karnan". The Bearded Traveller - 2018-05-16. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  8. ^ Prabhakaran, G. (2013-08-01). "Rejuvenation time for elephants". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  9. ^ "Kerala: No lockdown misery for Mangalamkunnu elephants - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  10. ^ Unknown (2013-11-14). "GAJALOKAM: മംഗലാംകുന്ന് കര്‍ണന്‍". GAJALOKAM. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  11. ^ "ഷാരൂഖിനും മോഹന്‍ലാലിനുമൊപ്പം സിനിമകളില്‍ താരമായ മംഗലാംകുന്ന് കര്‍ണന്‍". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  12. ^ "Mangalamkunnu Karnan passes away". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  13. ^ "ആനപ്രേമികളുടെ പ്രിയങ്കരൻ മംഗലാംകുന്ന് കർണൻ ചരിഞ്ഞു". Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  14. ^ "Noted Kerala tusker Mangalamkunnu Karnan's death leaves many teary-eyed". Manorama. 2021-01-29. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  15. ^ "Mangalamkunnu Karnan dies at 60". Kaumudi. 2021-01-28. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  16. ^ "ഷാരൂഖിനും മോഹന്‍ലാലിനുമൊപ്പം സിനിമകളില്‍ താരമായ മംഗലാംകുന്ന് കര്‍ണന്‍". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 2021-01-28.