Tourists are flocking to Lord Sreekrishna temple in Guruvayur, where it is now relaxation time for 60 elephants.
After 11 months’ temple duty, rejuvenation helps them regain their health. During the month-long pampering, their weight will increase by 250-700 kg.
Sathyapalan (53), a mahout, is always busy preparing food for the elephants. Under the supervision of the vet, he blends boiled rice, herbs, lentil, green gram, horse gram, medicinal plants and vitamin tablets.
Every morning the elephants are fed sumptuously (an elephant needs at least 5% of its weight as food daily) and later taken for a bath at a pond, where mahouts and attendants scrub their bodies.
After a three-hour bath they are lined up at the Punnathur elephant yard (20-acre plot situated 3 km from the temple) for special feeding in the afternoon.
“On average we need 18 tonnes of food daily. During the treatment period, it comes to around 20 tonnes. Besides palm leaves and napier grass (a special kind of tropical grass), we have earmarked Rs. 7 lakh for special treatment,” said temple veterinarian TCR Nambiar.
Guruvayur Dewasom (temple administration body) board member N Raju said: “Elephant feeding attract hordes of tourists to the yard these days. We are planning an elephant research and study centre to attract more tourists and pilgrims.”
In Guruvayur devotees have donated the elephants as thanksgiving to the Lord.