|Since time immemorial,
elephants have been an integral part of the daily life in Kerala
- a southern tropical state in India. These huge mammals have been loved,
revered, groomed and given a prestigious place in the state's culturescape.
The forests of Kerala are the natural habitat
of the Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). They are often referred to
as the sons of the 'Sahya' (the Western Ghats). No festival or celebration
is complete without an elephant procession. Rows of majestically caparisoned
elephants, replete with colorful silken parasols form the most spectacular
part of any event here.
The elephant headed god - Ganapathy(the son of Lord Siva)is
worshipped by the millions of hindus in India and hence elephants are
revered by the Keralites. These gentle pachyderms have the privilege
of carrying the idols of gods during the temple festivals and processions.
In Punnathur Kotta - an elephant sanctuary in Guruvayur, around
40 domesticated elephants are groomed for the service of Lord Krishna by the temple
|In Punnathur Kotta - an
elephant sanctuary in the temple town of Guruvayur, India - a pachyderm
cools off in the sweltering heat.