Thursday, 6 October 2011

Elephant Craze !!!

How many of us know about elephants? I did not, till the beginning of this year. Infact the maximum elephants that I have seen in one place has been 2.

This changed about 8 months back, when we went to Guruvayoor temple in Thrissur, Kerala(A hindu temple of Lord Vishnu).

The journey was tiresome, with over 500 KMs of drive (My husband did the driving). After our darshan (view of god) at Guruvayoor, we decided to go to Anakkotta (Elephant Fort), where the elephants belonging to the Guruvayoor temple are kept. They had about 64 elephants when we visited this place. Believe me.. this place was truly a elephant fort. 64 mamoth elephats. I was taken by surprise to see so many of them together in one place.

We also learnt a few tricks of handling elephants from the friendly mahouts (elephant trainers).

1) Never stand in front of an elephant and stare at it for long. It feels threatened. Below is one elephant which we stared at. For a minute he was silent and kept staring back at us.. Then he got wild and we had no options but to move away from that place.

2) When an elephant is angry, never stand anywhere near it. You never know what they may do. They may decide to chase you or just snap a branch from a nearby tree and hurl it at you. The one below was angry about something and was busy hurling things at whoever stood near it. Luckly no one was hurt.

3) Elephants enjoy their bath time. Give them a bath twice a day to keep them happy :) A good scrubber or a big brush is used to rub their skin and remove dirt from their skin. This is very important as elephants are not too fond of being covered with dirt. During the bath time, the elephant is made to lay down on its side so that the mahout can clean it well.

4) Elephants need their mahout to be around to keep them in control. Most times, when the mahout is away from the elephants, they become naughty and could at times loose their cool. So, mahouts have comeup with a technique through which they give their elephants the feeling that their mahout is somewhere right next to them. To do this, they use a long metal pipe and leave it behind the joint of the ear. It seems, every time the elephant shakes its ear, it feels the pipe and thinks that it is his mahout's leg.

5) The best time to watch elephants are when they are in a good mood. You will know it by looking at he elephant. See the one below. This guy was enjoying his day and though gave us a stare, did not bother about us for long.

Next time you are in Kerala, India, don't miss this place.

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