Temple elephants rejuvenate at special holiday camp in Tamil Nadu
Over three dozen tame elephants from temples across Tamil Nadu have been brought to the village of Thekkampatti to rejuvenate at a special 48-day camp.
They are being given special food and long periods of rest.
Accompanied by their caretakers or 'mahouts', the tuskers were tethered in the open, with large piles of sugarcane, leaves and bucketfuls of grain.
The arrangements made for them as well as the company of their kind lifted the spirits of he garlanded and decorated pachyderms, living alone most of the time, working hard at the temples where they served.
"We have come to this camp, where our elephants are given special food with vitamin supplements. The elephants are happy to see each other, as they are lonely at the temples. We are also happy as a result," said Dinesh, a mahout.
Apart from making sure that the camp on the banks of the Bhavani river held all the comforts needed by the animals, authorities ensured that there were medicines for their ailments as well.
"These elephants are also being given special medicines. The camp is on the banks of the Bhavani river, and the arrangements made for the camp are very nice," said Balan, another mahout.
Freed from their routine duties, the elephants rested, ate and played, spraying dust over their bodies as protection against the sunshine.
Visitors thronged to the camp, eager to savour so many of the magnificent animals together at the same time, some taking the opportunity to feed them with their own hands.
Captive elephants are an important element of many religious ceremonies and festivals at temples and shrines across south India. Many large temples in the region have their elephants, while the smaller ones acquire the pachyderms on rent during important occasions.