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Special diet, prayers for elephants in Kerala
Published on 17 Jul. 2009 11:06 PM IST
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Elephants are surely being pampered in Kerala. While nearly 65 of them will go for a month long rejuvenation programme at the Guruvayoor temple, Thrissur town Friday had a special prayer for the elephants attended by thousands of devotees. The Vadukunathan temple here had a special prayer Friday for 46 elephants. This prayer, attended by nearly 10,000 devotees, is done once in four years. Thrissur is over 300 km from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. M.G. Jagadeesh, the temple manager, said: “’Gaja pooja’ (elephant prayers) is basically a special session of prayers for the well being of the elephants. “The pooja is done by the ‘tantris’ (priests) and five elephants are lined up at a time and are asked to squat on a specially laid down woollen carpets. The prayer ends in about five minutes and the next set of elephants are lined up,” Jagadeesh told IANS. The temple invites contributions from the devotees to cover the expenses for the prayers. “The total expense for this came to around Rs.5 lakh. After the pooja all the elephants are treated to a sumptuous meal which includes 5 kg of rice, pineapple and other items,” said Jagadeesh. Meanwhile, in the famed Guruvayoor Temple, around 30 km from here, nearly 65 elephants will go for a month long rejuvenation programme. Thottathil Ravindran, president of the Guruvayoor temple board, told IANS that the programme began Friday. The temple has 65 captive elephants. The elephants will be treated to a host of nutritious food items including pulses, jaggery, sugarcane and others. “For the next one month, all our elephants will be on a special diet and on various treatment protocols to see that they remain healthy for the next one year,” said Ravindran. According to the forest department, there are around 900 captive elephants in Kerala.

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