COIMBATORE: The 48-day annual rejuvenation camp for temple elephants in the state commenced with a Ganapathy Homam at Thekkampatti on the banks of Bhavani river near Mettupalayam, 50 km from here, on Thursday morning.
The pachyderms after a scrub bath in the Bhavani marched towards the homam venue where mahouts applied thilaks on their forehead and then caparisoned for the occasion.
After the ceremony, the camp formally got underway with the traditional music even as state Ministers fed Kasturi of Palani temple, the oldest female member attending the camp. For the temple elephants, the camp turned out to be a joyous occasion as they were allowed to roll and spill mud over themselves, besides freely mingling with their friends from other shrines.
The camp for Lakshmi and Andal, both from Tiruchy district, which had never met, gelled well with each other and were in a playful mood. So was the case with most of the jumbos as they meet after an year. Speaking to reporters HR and CE minister Senthur Pandian said that the government was conducting the rejuvenation camp for the eight year.
He said the camp was started in 2003, but was not conducted during the DMK rule. It resumed in 2011 and over 30 temples elephants have been brought for the camp this year. During the 48-day affair, the participants would get all necessary care and their health would be monitored by the veterinarians.
Commissioner for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments P Dhanapal said the government has allocated `90 lakh for the temple elephants, which are attending the camp in Coimbatore. While a separate allocation has been made to those animals which could not make it to the camp owing to health reasons. Around 15 elephants, which could not come to Thekkampatti, would be looked after in their respective temples itself.
This year experts from Tamil Nadu Veterinary University and Animal Sciences would be present at the camp to teach mahouts on the ‘dos and don’ts.’
When pointed out that the camp venue was well within the elephant corridor and possibilities of wild jumbos attacking the camp participants are high, he replied that after last year’s experience officials have identified the area through which they migrate to and from other states.
Mini camp at Vandalur Park
Chennai: The rejuvenation camp for jumbos commenced at Arignar Anna Zoological Park on the city outskirts on Thursday. “This year we have included three elephants from our zoo,” said the park’s PRO, Sudhakar. “They will be accompanied by three mahouts and fed with nutritious food and rejuvenating tonics,” he added. The camp began with a prayer for the three tuskers, who were accompanied by their mahouts. For the next 48 days, they will be fed with five types of grains, ragi, rice, bananas, jaggery, papaya, salt, grass, sugarcane and coconut. They will also be given pond and mud baths.