Akila gets its very own pond to have a splash

Akila, the elephant of Sri Jambkeswarar Akilandeswari Temple in Tiruvanaikoil in Tiruchi, enjoys a bath in the new pond.   | Photo Credit: M. Srinath

Splashing water on itself with its trunk and moving about freely and sometimes lying in the pool of water to beat the heat, 19-year-old Akila - the elephant of Sri Jambukeswarar Akilandeswari Temple at Tiruvanaikoil here thoroughly enjoyed its bath in the pond built exclusively for the pachyderm on the huge temple complex.

Akila was in a joyous mood on Thursday afternoon during the nearly hour-long bath it had in the pond set up on the 1.5 acre Nachiarthoppu which is in close proximity to the elephant’s shelter. It was brought by its mahout and his assistant for the bath. The six-foot-deep pond is spacious so that the elephant can move about freely and relax itself in the pool of water, said the temple’s executive officer C. Mariappan. There is a ramp for the elephant to get inside the pond.

From now on, Akila, the darling of devotees, will have its daily bath in the pond, created with substantial contributions from donors, Mr. Mariappan said. Earlier it used to be given a bath using a shower system near its shelter.

A borewell has been sunk to fill the pond with groundwater which will be pumped out and used for the temple garden after the bath, Mr. Mariappan said. During the lockdown, 100 coconut tree saplings, 100 mango tree saplings and some jackfruit tree saplings were planted in the Nachiarthoppu so that there will be greenery around the pond.

Akila is used to be taken for a morning walk daily on the newly created mud track inside the Nachiarthoppu. The elephant, born in May 2002 in Assam, was brought to the Tiruvanaikoil temple in December 2011 after the demise of its predecessor Shanthi. The Tiruvanaikoil temple is situated on 19.5 acres and is a ‘pancha bootha sthalam’ representing one of the five elements - water.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 4:17:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/akila-gets-its-very-own-pond-to-have-a-splash/article34952160.ece

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