Guruvayur Nandhan is Kerala's ‘heaviest of all’

Veterinarian P B Giridas said that Nandhan is healthy as per the results of blood samples and others tests conducted ahead of the rejuvenation therapy.
Guruvayur Nandhan.
Guruvayur Nandhan.

THRISSUR: Keralites have always been enamoured of elephants, their majestic beauty even giving rise to the popular Malayalam term ‘Aanachandam’, which roughly translates to ‘elephant grace’.

Hence it is no surprise that Guruvayur Nandhan is among the most popular elephants in the state.

As the jumbos under the Guruvayur Devaswom were weighed ahead of the annual rejuvenation therapy on Monday, tusker Nandhan -- at 7,260kg -- weighed in as the heaviest captive elephant in the state.

The 52-year-old elephant, which stands around 10.07 feet tall, also has a history of having been in musth for a long period of nine months, which indicates its health. It has also passed the beauty parameters that define an elephant’s charm. The tusker has a raised head, 18 nails that grow parallel to each other, and a trunk that touches the earth, making Guruvayur Nandhan a favourite among the elephant lovers of Kerala.

“Currently, the elephant has a musth period of about four to four-and-a-half months, which is rare in captive elephants,” said a scholar who has researched captive elephants in Kerala. The state’s captive elephants usually remain in musth for around two-and-half to three months, as the stress of festival days impacts their health to some extent, he added.

In the last festival season, Nandhan’s lease amount went up to Rs 2,22,223 lakh, on par with another Devaswom tusker, Indrasen. “Nandhan has always been a calm elephant,” said Mayadevi, deputy administrator in charge of Punnathurkotta, the elephant camp in Guruvayoor.

“Even during the musth period, it doesn’t generally show hostility towards mahouts.”

Veterinarian P B Giridas said that Nandhan is healthy as per the results of blood samples and others tests conducted ahead of the rejuvenation therapy. “We have been ensuring that the food intake of all elephants under Guruvayur Devaswom is in proportion to five per cent of their weight, at least,” he said.

Meanwhile, experts warn that the obese condition could harm the tusker in the future. The veterinarians have already noted the slow pace of Nandhan’s movement when compared to other elephants.

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