These elephants will enjoy body scrubs, full body wraps, special indulgent diets, herbal tonics and most importantly - no work for one month.
They are divided into groups based on weight and are given tailor-made diets.
An elephant specialist, Maheshwaran Namboodiripad says, "We at Guruvayur ensure that the best of facilities are given to these elephants for one whole month. These elephants are under constant surveillance and treatments from doctors during this period".
But this is just a luxury break and long months of hard labour lie ahead for them. These temple elephants are paraded in scorching heat and are made to stand for almost 8 hours at a stretch amidst the deafening sounds of fire-crackers. Temple festivals begin from October to April every year.
Chained, injured and overworked, yet many of these temple mega-stars can fetch a price of Rs 25000 to lakhs of rupees, when rented out to smaller temples. "Their rates depend upon their glamour- their height, weight" says a mahout.
KN Jayachandran, a noted elephant activist says, "For one month these elephants are treated like kings, but for the rest of the months, it's a cruel life for them. And then, who are we human beings to decide what's the best diet for elephants. They belong to the wild."
Elephants remain a popular figure in the state, and each elephant has its own devotee fan-club in Thrissur.
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