The annual rejuvenation therapy for the elephants owned by the Guruvayur Devaswom began on Sunday at the Punnathurkotta (elephant sanctuary).
During the therapy known in local parlance as Sukha Chikitsa, the elephants will have a 30-day time-off for ayurvedic revitalisation treatment of body wraps, special diet and herbal tonics. Guruvayur Devaswom chairman T V Chandramohan officially inaugurated the therapy by feeding the most senior inmate Thara. As 18 elephants, including Guruvayur Padmanabhan, are ailing from various health problems, only 48 elephants are undergoing the treatment now.
Devaswom managing committee members K Sivasankaran and N Raju, administrator Venugopal, veterinary specialists Avanapparambu Maheswaran Namboothiri, Dr K C Panikkar and Dr T C R Nambiar were present.
A sum of Rs 8.4 lakh has been earmarked for the therapy.
The course began with a thorough bathing when the body of the elephants were scrubbed with coconut fibre and smooth pebbles. It was followed by a meal of sheaves of palm leaf and gallons of pure water. After a few hours of rest, the jumbos were treated to a sumptuous lunch of cooked rice and green grams, with a liberal dose of digestive ayurvedic powder ‘ashta choornam’ on Sunday. The elephants of the Devaswom are listed in three classes based on their body weight. The elephants weighing 4,000 kg and above are included in ‘A’ category, those weighing 3,000 kg to 4,000 kg in the ‘B’ category and the others in the ‘C’ class.
An ‘A’ class elephant is fed with 5 kg of cooked rice, two kg of boiled green gram, 500 gm of ayurvedic tonic, six bio-boost balls, 50 gm of medicinal powders and liver tonics a day. There are 33 elephants in the ‘A’ category alone, with ‘Gaja Ratnam’ Guruvayur Padmanabhan topping the list.