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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Thiruvanaikaval Akila gets showers


Western World and their perception of other Nations are far different ~ they tend to criticize others on many issues – while they themselves would flout all the rules .. .. often they criticize other Countries stating that they treat animals cruelly – far different from the reality though.

It was Kim Kardashian’s turn to be receiving criticism of  being “cruel” after sharing photographs of herself posing with an elephant.  From a recent trip to Bali, Kim posted photos   touching the trunk of an elephant while a man, believed to be a sanctuary worker, sits on top of it.  Another photo showed the  38-year-old posing with her husband, Kanye West, while in the final image the elephant can be seen wrapping its trunk around the mother-of-three's body.  “Missing Bali! and the amazing elephant sanctuary”, Kardashian West captioned the post.  This comes shortly after Actor Martin Clunes was dropped as a patron of an animal welfare charity after footage emerged of him riding an elephant in Nepal.  He faced fierce social media criticism after climbing on the elephant  during last week's episode of ITV programme My Travels And Other Animals. In a statement, Born Free confirmed Clunes' "deeply unfortunate" departure for riding a "captive, wild" elephant. It said Clunes' actions reinforced a practice it is "resolutely against".  They claimed that they  are   opposed to the exploitation of captive wild animals for entertainment and human interactions.

For devotees, a trip to Sri Rangam is pleasant in so many ways …. After worshipping the ‘pallikonda Perumal’ – Sri Ranganathar in Bhooloka Vaikundam, one proceeds to another ancient temple in vicinity… very close to Sri Rangam – the temple of Sri Jambukeswarar Akilandeswari at Thiruvanaikovil.  Thiruvanaikoil is around 3 Kms away from the heart of Trichy city and adjacent to Srirangam.

Sri Jambukeswarar Akilandeswari Temple of Thiruvanaika is one of the Panchabhoota Stalams (signifying the 5 natural elements) and represents water ('Neer'). As this temple represents water this is also called as 'Appu sthalam' and the Shivalinga ('Swami') here is called as 'Appu Linga'.  Inside the temple, at the Linga sannathi, one can still see water as the Priest puts his hand inside the openings surrounding the Lingam… ….it is the water of sacred Kaveri that surrounds the temple and is perceived inside as well.  The goddess here is  Sri Akilandeswar-  Akilandanyaki.

Thiruvanaikovil is also called as 'Jambukeswaram' as according to the legend  a Sage by name 'Jambu Munivar' once got a rare and sacred 'Venn Naaval' (white Jamun) fruit; the seed from the fruit grew on the head of the Sage who did penance in the forest on the banks of river Cauvery.   After many years Devi Akilandeswari worshiped Lord Shiva under that tree during her penance.  This large temple celebrates Shiva as Jambukeswara, an embodiment of the element water and is referred to as Appustalam.

Another legend  attached to the story is :   two Siva Ganas by name 'Malyavan' and 'Pushpadanta'  quarelled with each other – one was cursed by other to become an elephant and the other to be a spider.  Both the elephant and the spider came to Jambukeshwaram and continued their Shiva worship. The elephant collected water from river Cauvery and conducted Abhishekam to the lingam under the Jambu tree daily. The spider constructed his web over the lingam to prevent dry leaves from dropping on it and prevent Sunlight directly felling on Shiva. Lord Siva, moved by the deep devotion of the two relieved them from one other’s curse.  As the elephant worshipped here, this place came to be known as ‘Thiru Aanai Kaa’ … the spider was born as a Chola King and built many temples says the legend.  

Thiruvanaikoil has a star attraction ~ the temple elephant ‘Akila’ ~  .. ..now in news.


A newly-built water shower will now help Akila, a 17-year-old female elephant at the Thiruvanaikoil Arulmigu Jambukeswarar Akhilandeswari temple, beat the heat as the temperature soars beyond a threshold in city. The female elephant, which required frequent bathing to beat the heat, now would be able to keep itself cool and active with the water shower, the authorities said. The shower, costing 1 lakh, was gifted to the temple by a Chennai-based donor to celebrate the elephant’s birthday, which falls this month.


Relocated in 2011 from Assam to Thiruvanaikoil at the age of 9, Akila quickly became popular because of its friendly attitude towards people. Akila instantly became a favourite of many devotees. As the temperature has been going beyond 41°C this summer in the city, Akila had to receive frequent baths to keep cool. The authorities said that devotee sponsored the shower through HR&CE to help the elephant beat the heat. The shower is equipped with 20 perpendicular pipes and a motor pumping out water in a synchronous speed covering about 50 square feet space.  B Jambunathan, has been  working as Akila’s mahout for the past 8 years and has developed great rapport with the pachyderm. The mahout said that Akila takes as many as three to five baths a day.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th May 2019.
PS : Akila photos credit ~ fb page of Akila Thiruvanaikaval.


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