Hundreds of domesticated elephants are reared in Kerala. They are owned either by temples or individuals. Grooming a giant pet is not an easy task. Collecting food for them is a major work of elephant attendants.
The common foods of the jumbos are leaves of coconut and palm. Luckier are the temple elephants since they also get delicacies prepared in the temple. Devotees consider it divine to feed the God’s own animal.
Whether owned by temples or individuals jumbos are considered as the pride of a locality. The names of almost all jumbos are prefixed by either the temple name or the locality. The villagers are always happy to offer the jumbo a day’s food from their farmland.
Visit a village where an elephant is reared. In the evening you can see the jumbo guided by his mahouts setting out as in a leisurely stroll to collect the daily ‘leaves’.
Anayoottu is an interesting ritual held in several temples in the state. This involves mass feasting of elephants with specially prepared food. The grandest among them is the one held annually at the Vadakkumnatha temple in Thrissur district.