TTD grooms pachyderms for divine service
Vaishnavi, Anasuya, Lakshmi, Mahalakshmi, Padmaja, Padma, Revati, Srinidhi - all elephants - felt proud and blessed as they cherish the service in the abode of Lord Venkateswara.
Tirumala: Vaishnavi, Anasuya, Lakshmi, Mahalakshmi, Padmaja, Padma, Revati, Srinidhi - all elephants - felt proud and blessed as they cherish the service in the abode of Lord Venkateswara.
According to Hindu mythology, elephant is the symbol of wealth as it is the favourite mount of Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu.
The richness of Lord Venkateswara (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) glorified with the valued assets of the elephants in the decorative and devotional service to Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala along with bulls and horses.
“While elephant represents wealth, bulls indicate dharma and horse signifies source of power,” says Dr A V Ramana Dikshitulu, one of the chief priests of Srivari temple suggesting that the presence of the elephants, horse, bulls and others in the temple rituals of Tirumala.
Among the elephants, Anasuya is the youngest aged 14 years and Lakshmi is oldest aging 52 years. “We have not kept any male elephants as it is difficult rear them in captivity,” said the Director of SV Goshala Dr Harnath Reddy.
TTD on an average spends around Rs six lakh on each elephant per annum and fodder alone costs Rs three lakh per month. These pachyderms are fed every half-an-hour and well taken care of.
“During processions on mada streets, we give sugarcane and napier drops for every 20 minutes to keep them calm in view of the sound, heavy lighting and also the crowds. The mahouts who take care of the elephants are given special training with experts from Kerala,” he said.
“We have eight elephants, which will be caparisoned for display as soldiers of Lord Malayappaswamy during all festivals and major public rituals of Srivari temple and other local temples of TTD,” he added.
Interestingly, almost all the elephants were donated by individuals and other State governments. The Karnataka government has given three elephants which includes one by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and another by R Gundu Rao. Recently Anant Ambani, son of the renowned business tycoon Mukesh Ambani presented one elephant.
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