Jumbos Go For Rejuvenation
How elephants undergo ayurveda as well
Karkidakom (Malayalam month) (from mid July to mid-August) is an eagerly awaiting month to the pachyderms in Kerala. Firstly, their busy schedule of participating, practically daily, in temple festivals day and night is over and is resting period. Secondly, during this period they enjoy sumptuous food followed by rejuvenation therapy known as Sukha Chikilsa in local language.
Guruvayur Devasam in Thrissur district which holds world’s largest camp of captive elephants, presently numbering 64, is the initiator of rejuvenation therapy for elephants in the State. They launched the practice in 1982.
In Guruvayur Devasam this year’s therapy began on July 1 that is at the peack of monsoon. Mass feast for the Jumbos was held in Vadakkumnathan Temple on July 16. Every year it is held in Vadakkumnathan. This year 63 jumbos were feasted.
Aanayoottu (feasting to elephants) was preceded by an Ashtadravya Mahaganapthi Homam (a fire ritual to propitiate Lord Ganesh) which was performed by 30 priests. 10008 coconuts, 3000 kg of jaggery, 1500 kg of rice flakes, 750 kg of parched rice, 300 kg rice, 50 kg of honey, 100 kg of sesame and sugarcane were used for the Homam. These articles plus a large quantum of banana formed feasts for the elephants. An amount of Rs one crore was spent for this grand program.
Sukha Chikilsa is based on ‘Hasti Ayurveda’ a book devoted exclusively for elephant medicines and treatment. The feast diet is made of rice, wheat, black gram, horse gram, green gram, ragi, fruits, shallets, sugarcane, dried coconut, turmeric powder and various ayurveda medicines. Allopathic medicines and minerals and salts are also given in the evening.
Rejuvenation therapy not only makes the elephants physically fit but also strengthen immune system and ward off gastrointestinal problems. This therapy creates behavioural change for better as well.
Like Guruvayur Devasam, Cochin Devasom Board, Travancore Devasom Board and other Devasoms having elephants administer rejuvenation therapy. Most of the private owners also follow suit.