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Saturday, February 4, 2017

colourful knitted jumper wearing elephants ~ and care for Thiruvambady Ramabhadran

The magnificent India – is quite different than what is portrayed by the Westerners !   ..Michael Wood in his  - A South Indian Journey –  about Chidambaram writes ‘unlike South Indian temples, they chant in Tamil – totally oblivious of the fact that in all Sri Vaishnavaite temples, it is Azhwargalin Naalayira Divyaprabandham, which is Tamil and only Tamil. .. .. .. sometimes they are proud of their ignorance – why fault them, when we have local champions who also speak without knowing or  caring about the facts !!!! 
a  majestic tusker of Guruvayur

In God’s own country – there are temples and temple elephants.  The Thiruvambady Temple and Thrissur Pooram festival are today almost synonymous to the general public.   The  latter is the climax to the sustained round the year activities of divine worship aimed at providing a spiritual avenue for peace, tranquility and mental uplift of thousands of devotees far and near. The temple is located 1 km north of the Vadakkunnathan Temple, minutes from Thrissur Railway Station and Bus stand.  

The main deity at Thiruvambady is Unnikrishna (Lord Krishna in infant form). Goddess Bhagavathy is consecrated in a shrine just on the left of Lord Krishna and worshipped with equal ardour. The legend of the Temple has it that the idol of Krishna, now worshipped here, was originally the Parthasarathy idol in a temple at Edakkalathur, a sleepy hamlet, about 15km from Thrissur.

The Thiruvambady Devaswom is known for the care it takes in the case of the elephants it owns and also those hired by them for festivals. It was in 1966, that the temple got its first elephant. It was a 20 nailed tusker, bought using devotees’ contributions; it was named Govindankutty. At present, the temple owns 6 elephants, 5 tuskers & one she- elephant.   Of them Tiruvambady Ramakrishnan, a majestic tusker, is in news !

Animal activists have complained that  it is ailing and has been forced to carry out a ritual at the temple recently.  It is another news altogether that the Animal Welfare Board of India had a year ago recommended euthanasia for the elephant. A  press release from the Thiruvambadi Devawom said elephant Ramabhadran, which has been undergoing treatment for foot disease, visited the temple as part of evaluation of the result of its treatment, as recommended by the doctors.

The care and love of the locals for the temples it a different frenzy and cannot be understood by outsiders, just as we Triplicanites loved our dear Alwar elephant.  Here is another interesting news – that of specially designed jumbo jackets being made for elephants at a sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh to protect them from the bitter winter conditions which continue to grip northern India. At the outset, it may sound silly – will not the animals have the wherewithal to protect against nature ? – does it require human to provide cover – but, life is always different. 

With temperatures dipping as low as three degrees centigrade at night early last month, the team at Wildlife SOS set about creating special coats to keep the rescued animals warm. It comes weeks after ladies in a village near the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura donated colourful knitted jumpers for the giant mammals, which they have been working on since last year.

Daily Mail reports that Asha, who was rescued after 45 years in a life of misery, was the first to try out her special khaki-coloured outerwear. Their handiwork, which took months to complete, was in response to an appeal from staff at the centre, where temperatures at night can plunge close to freezing point – too cold even for an elephant’s thick hide.  The jumpers were giving warmth to the jumbos in the winter.   The elephants now have stylish tailor made jackets to keep them snug as well, as temperatures remain well below 10 degrees centigrade at night. The jacket, which comes with a colourful patterned lining, is first slipped over her head before being pulled down her body and then fastened with straps passed under her belly.

Wild elephants are under threat across the world. The ivory trade fuels illegal hunting and smuggling that kills an estimated 30,000 elephants a year.  Many of them are exported to China, and in Dec -  China announced a total ban of the trade and processing of ivory, to be in effect by the end of 2017.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

4th Feb 2017.

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