Now, Guruvayur elephants get rejuvenation therapy

published on July 2, 2006

Rajesh Krishna | Thrissur

Amidst the painful reports of the mysterious deaths of pachyderms like Kolakolli in Peppara near Thiruvananthapuram and Rajeev in Palakkad district, the conveniences and comforts a temple institution is providing elephants should make animal-lovers happy.

As several firms in the hospitality business and Ayurvedic practices capitalise on the static weather of monsoon days to make money through rejuvenation therapies, this temple institution is providing the elephants it owns pleasures of monsoon Sukha Chikitsa.

The Guruvayur Devaswom Board, which administers the famous Sree Krishna Temple in Guruvayur uses the monsoon every year to provide rejuvenation therapy to the elephants it keeps in its shelter at Punnathurkkotta near the township.

The Guruvayur Devaswom Board this year has allocated a sum of Rs 6.50 lakh for the annual therapy of the 72 inmates of the Punnathurkkotta including the six female elephants.

Guruvayur Padmanabhan, the State’s most celebrated elephant, which is also privileged to carry the idol of Sree Guruvayurappan, the reining deity of the temple, is the eldest among these elephants at 67. The majestic elephant also has the record of being leased out for a per-day ekkam (rent) of Rs 2,22,222 for the festival at a Palakkad temple. It has also been conferred the prestigious Gajaratna award by the Devasom Board.

A female elephant called Lakshmi Narayanan, aged nine, is the youngest among the inmates at Punnathurkkotta. Krishna, which was given to the temple as an offering by Tamil Nadu former chief minister is also an inmate of the Punnathurkkotta shelter.

Elephants in the Punnathurkkotta shelter get the monsoon Sukha Chikitsa for thirty days. During the treatment period, a set of ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are given to the elephants.

Veteran ayrurvedic vaidya Aavanaparambu Maheswaran Namduripad is in charge of the Aurvedic therapy for the elephants. Veterinary doctors TCR Nambiar, Muralidharan and KC Panickar are in charge of the allopathic treatment.

TC Ravunni Nambiar, the chief veterinary officer of the Punnathurkkotta shelter, told The Pioneer that the rejuvenation therapy was carried out by dividing the elephants into three groups based on their weight.

The elephants which weigh above 4,500 kilos form the first group. There are sixteen elephants in this category at the shelter. The second group will have elephants with weight between 4,500 kilos and 3,000 kilos. There are 36 elephants in this category. The third category consists of elephants below 3,000 kilos. The elephants would be given Albandazole, a medicine for de-worming two weeks before the commencement of the treatment.

On the days of treatment, the elephants are made to take a bath in the morning. The three-hour bath itself is an important part of the treatment as rubbing the body with coconut fibre increases the blood circulation, says KN Sureshkumar, veterinary inspector of the Punnathurkkotta.

Each big elephant here is looked after by three mahouts, and small elephants have two mahouts each.

Diet of the elephants at the shelter includes rice, greengram, horsegram, chavanaprasham, ashtachoornam, turmeric powder, salt and other items.

Quantity of these ingredients is varied for different categories of elephants. Besides, a powder named Liv-52 is also given to elephants. An ayurvedic mineral mixture is also given to the animals during these days.

Altogether 7,620 kilos of rice, 3,270 kilos of greengram, 300 kilos of horsegram, 885 kilos of chyavnaprasham and 93 kilos of ashtachoornam are given to elephants on these days. During therapy, the elephants are given total rest.

However, some of the elephants would be taken to the Sree Krishna temple in the evenings for the “ezhunillippu.”

Punnathurkkotta, which was owned by Punnathur king earlier, gifted it to the Guruvayur Devaswom Board in 1972.

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