Alleppey (Kerala), Jul 8: A small Hindu temple in Kerala's Alleppey District has a unique shower system for elephants to provide them relief from the scorching heat.
The idea was conceived by a temple mahout who requested the temple authorities for a shower system after facing difficulties in walking many kilometres to get his jumbo a bath from the nearby lake or river. It took the temple authorities around one year to execute the plan. The total cost to build this special hut amounted to 900 thousand rupees.
Clean water is pumped to a thousand-litre tank placed on the perforated top of a hut from where water is showered for one hour daily or thrice a week on elephants depending upon the weather condition.
"Nowadays, most of the elephants are creating problems because of summer season. So, we are giving this facility to the elephants," said K V Ganesh Kumar, temple advisory member.
The authorities have now submitted a memorandum to construct a similar system in other temples and have plans to rent their hut for other jumbos passing by.
"It is very beneficial for mahouts like us as we do not have to stand for hours pouring water out of pipes to cool the elephants. But this system helps cool the entire body of the elephant and it can have its meal at the same time. Before this system was put in place, we had to carry buckets full of water which was a very hard task but now it is easy," said Gopa Kumar, a mahout.
All the temple festivals start during summer season in Kerala and the intense heat, stress and sound make the elephants violent who end up going on a rampage killing hundreds of people every year.
It is estimated that an elephant owner earns more than Rs.50, 000 to 1,00,000 for leasing out animals for the entire single season.
There are about 850 captive elephants in Kerala and rampaging elephants have killed over 20 people this year.