Srirangam temple gets second elephant

Premi has been donated to the temple by Lakshmi Mills, Coimbatore

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam on Wednesday welcomed its second elephant, Premi.

Twenty-year-old Premi will soon join Andal, who is 42 and has been at the temple for over 30 years. Premi has been donated to the temple by Lakshmi Mills, Coimbatore and was set to reach the temple even before the lockdown was imposed in view of the pandemic, P. Jayaraman, Joint Commissioner, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, told The Hindu. The second elephant was accepted as a donation because of the number of temple activities.

The temple authorities began preparations for an additional shed, next to Andal’s, nearly a year ago, a temple official said. “Her shed is the same as Andal’s and was constructed specially to accommodate her,” he said.

Premi arrived in Srirangam on Wednesday afternoon from Coimbatore. “She was to join us in March, but since the lockdown was in force, there was no transport available,” he added.

The elephant will undergo training at the temple premises for a period of at least six months before she joins Andal in temple events, the official said. “Even though she is already domesticated, she needs to get accustomed to the temple premises, her trainers and her role in the temple,” he said.

When Premi is ready, a schedule will be drawn up so that Andal and she take over temple duties on alternate days. “This will give them both rest and allow rituals and other events in the temple to run smoothly,” he said.

Until she is ready to take on her newly assigned duties, Premi will be on a diet of rice, cane jaggery and grass. She will be taken on walks and will be trained according to the temple needs.

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