Coimbatore

“Yaanai” samy temple to ward off crop raiding by wild elephants

Idol of an elephant installed at Bhagavathy Amman temple at Kandavayal village in Siurmugai near Mettuppalayam.

Idol of an elephant installed at Bhagavathy Amman temple at Kandavayal village in Siurmugai near Mettuppalayam. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Around 5,000 villagers believe that prayers to “Yaanai Samy” (elephant god) before commencing irrigation and post-harvest will prevent wild elephants from raiding the crops.

The Bhagavathi Amman temple at Kandavayal village in Sirumugai near Mettuppalayam has an elephant idol, installed in front of the ‘Amman Sannidhi’. The idol is worshipped by villagers of Kandavayal, Kandhaiyur, Lingapuram, Uliyur, Aloor and Mokkaimedu, said N. Ranjith, a resident.

According to villagers, the villages lie in the elephant corridor, where elephants from the Nilgiris used to migrate in search of fodder and water during summer. They pass through Thengumarahada and reach the backwaters of Bhavanisagar dam.

“Over 50 years ago, somebody installed an elephant idol in the Bhagavathy Amman temple. Earlier, the temple was worshipped only by tribal people, but thanks to this idol, it is now frequented by farmers in the entire region,” devotees said. The belief has attracted people from nearby districts such as Tiruppur, Erode and the Nilgiris. The temple conducts pujas on Tuesdays, Fridays and ‘Ammavasai’ (new moon days).

J. Kumar, another resident of the area, said there were myths that the statue was only two feet long at the time of installation, but now became five feet long. Though he does not believe in that, Mr. Kumar firmly believes that prayers before commencing irrigation would certainly ward off wild elephant intrusion. The villagers thank the “Yaanai Samy” by offering a part of their first harvest to the temple.

The villagers also pointed out that once prayers had been offered at the temple, even if the wild elephants intrude, they consume only plantains and leave the farm fields without causing any damage to crops.

Another farmer Rathinasamy, in memory of his father Maranna Gowder who was trampled to death by a wild elephant in September 1991, had set up a small temple in October 1992 with the idol of his father and an elephant.


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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 11:11:11 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/yaanai-samy-temple-to-ward-off-crop-raiding-by-wild-elephants/article65764547.ece