By Taniya Dutta
The temple Elephants work really hard throughout the year blessing devotees and eating bananas from them and so this is the time when they are allowed to get pampered for 48 days, given delicious food and spa at a rejuvenation camp in India.
At least 33 elephants between the age of ten and 49 were taken from temples across Tamil Nadu in southern India to the banks of river Bhavani in Thekkampatti for the over a month long rejuvenation camp.
They are scrubbed clean, massaged, fed nutritious food comprising green fodder, dates, boiled rice and liver tonics and undergo health screening and treatment for various ailments and infections, if any.
While they are kept chained throughout the lives, for once a year at this camp, the elephants are taken for two mile long walks twice and given baths for an hour daily.
The total expenditure for the massive rejuvenation camp comes around a whopping £ 232,282 which is incurred by the state government.
In the visuals, the tuskers can be seen lying uniformly and being washed by mahouts-their caretakers as they enjoy the splash of water in their bodies.
A host of vets, sanitation workers, officials from animal husbandry look after the massive animals during the camp.
Dr.Thiru Kumaran, Assistant Director of Animal Husbandry said: “The purpose of organising the camp is to try giving these animals a habitat of their own.
“They are kept in temples where they are tied and have restricted movements. They live on cemented floors under asbestos roof, mostly alone. Once a year we try to give them a feeling of natural habitat where they live with their friends, go for long walks and take bath everyday.
“We also keep their medical records and give treatment for their ailments.
“They really enjoy here. It is solely meant to give them the feeling of living under open sky in herds as they are meant to.
“Every time they are brought here, they are euphoric to meet their old friends. The camp is being organised for last 13 years and all these elephants know each other.
“We give them delicious food divided into two categories, green and concentrate. They are also given enough water to bath every day which they love most
These elephants, mostly chained, are treated sacred animals in Tamil Nadu and its neighbouring state Kerala where they regularly take part in religious processions during festivals, at times parade for as long as 10 kilometres in a single day.
They are decorated with beautiful caparisons and carry effigies of deities, blessing devotees on the way.