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No more elephantine gifts please, temple authorities tell devotees

The Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple administrators are facing an elephantine problem -- of finding fodder for its growing collection of pachyderms.

As of now, the Devaswom board -- among the wealthiest in south India -- has to grapple with 42 hungry elephants, all donated by devotees.

That would have been all right, if that was all there was to it.

But the trouble is, the devotees insist on gifting the temple management with more of these magnificent beasts.

There is no way the temple can feed another extra mouth. Neither can it say 'no' to elephants -- for, aren't the offerings for Lord Krishna?

Recently, a devotee, Gopalakrishnan, resorted to a satyagraha, when the Devaswom refused his offering. Gopalakrishnan, who landed up at the temple with his elephant from Punalur after travelling 300 kilometres, was told that his pachydermian gift was not acceptable. The ostensible reason: he did not have the required clearance from forest authorities.

Gopalakrishnan and his elephant went on a dharna in front of the temple till the management relented.

As the month-long rejuvenation treatment for elephants (an annual routine) started last week, the Devaswom administration found finding fodder all the more exhausting. The treatment requires the management to provide each elephant with a mixture of cooked rice and ayurvedic medicines. The prescription involves 5,000 kg of rice, 1,830 kg of green gram, 600 kg of chyavanaprasam and 62 kg of ashtachoornam (a powder of eight ayurvedic preparations) daily!

Hence, the Rs 425, 000 annual medical insurance reimbursement, and the Rs 300,000 grant for medicines does not really add up to much, temple officials say.

Besides, the Devaswom pays an annual premium of Rs 942,000 for the 42 pachyderms, which have been insured for Rs 913,800.

Not surprising then that the temple would rather not receive any more gifts!


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