THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s rejuvenation time for Darshini and Sudarshana, elephants of the famed Sree Padmanabhaswami Temple. On Monday, the first of Malayalam month of Karkidakam, temple administration started the monsoon ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy for the pachyderms.
Veterinarian Dr T Rajeev, who oversees the rejuvenation therapy, said a special diet is given to the animal in addition to their normal food. Ayurvedic medicines given include chyavanaprasham and ashtachoornam.
The special diet comprises 5 to 6 kg cooked rice, two kg green gram, 500g-1 kg small onions, two kg horse gram, ground nuts, raggi, turmeric powder and palm jaggery. All these ingredients are pounded, made into a bolus, and fed directly. The elephants are given an elaborate bath in the morning.
Fifty five-year-old Darshini and 12-year-old Sudarshana are much adored by devotees and the temple staff. Both the elephants are known for their calm nature and loves human interactions, especially with children, the staff said.
Darshini was named by the last king of erstwhile Travancore kingdom Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma and was a pet of Varma until his death. The name given by the king was Priyadarshini and it got corrupted to Darshini afterwards. For decades, Darshini has been accompanying the ceremonial aarattu procession from the temple to the Shangumugham beach.
Sudarshana was gifted to the temple by a devotee during the Lakshadeepam festival in 2014. Female elephants are used for rituals and processions at the Sree Padmanabhaswami temple considering the presiding deity’s calm mood.Both the animals are housed at the aanakottil inside the Bhajanappura Palace in the temple complex. Four mahouts take care of them.
Minister inaugurates therapy
The rejuvenation therapy was inaugurated by Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Monday morning. Dignitaries present included V S Sivakumar MLA, temple administration committee member S Vijayakumar, executive officer V Ratheeshan, erstwhile Travancore royal family members Marthandavarma and Aditya Varma. Temple manager B Sreekumar, elephant supervisor P K Mohan Kumar, PRO D Achuthan and guard commander Jayakumaran Nair attended the function.