Tamil Nadu

Bonding time for three elephants at Tamil Nadu’s Thekkampatti rejuvenation camp

From left, Kothai, Sundaravalli Thayar and Sengamalam, known for their friendship, at Thekkampatti.

From left, Kothai, Sundaravalli Thayar and Sengamalam, known for their friendship, at Thekkampatti.   | Photo Credit: M_ Periasamy

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Three elephants became close at rejuvenation camp in 2012.

“The three always walk together in the morning and evening at the camp,” he said. They also like to take bath together after the walk. While Sengamalam is 30 years old, Kothai is 22 and Sundaravalli Thayaar, 14.

When the camp wraps up after 48 days, the mahouts face a major challenge in separating the elephants from one another, as they would shed tears while boarding their vehicles.

“For the next few days, they would not even respond to our commands,” Mr. Murugesan said. “The separation is what strengthens their bond,” he added.

Harmonica player

Gomathi, the 25-year-old elephant from Sankaranarayanaswamy Temple, Sankarankovil, is special. The elephant likes playing the harmonica and even football with other elephants in the camp.

“Gomathi has been playing harmonica for 20 years,” mahout Sanal Kumar said. Gomathi is the daughter of Kaleem, a popular kumki elephant, Mr. Kumar noted.

Vinil Kumar, the mahout of elephant Jayamalyatha from Andal Temple, Srivilliputhur, is a third-generation mahout. “I grew up with elephants,” he said, noting that his father served as a mahout for four decades at Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam, a Shaivite mutt in Mayiladuthurai, and his grandfather was a mahout from Kerala.

S. Ashik, a visitor who came with his brother and family, said his family members enjoy visiting the camp every year. “We have been coming here for the past five years,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 4:20:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/bonding-time-for-three-elephants-at-tamil-nadus-thekkampatti-rejuvenation-camp/article30314768.ece

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