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Mahouts: The elephant caretakers

For Keralites, elephants are part of their cultural obsession. In olden days elephants were reared by aristocratic families as a matter of prestige. Today elephants are reared mainly by temples and there are few individual owners too.

Seen in the video is a mahout (elephant trainer) with his elephant. Systematic domestication and rearing of pachyderms is not an easy task.

At least two trained mahouts are required for each animal. In olden days people who were proficient in ancient treatises on elephant training like Mathangaleela were only assigned the task.

An ideal mahout is not just a trainer, but a sort of friend to the animal. He knows the likes and dislikes of the animal and would be able to foresee its behaviour.

And do not wonder when you see the small children of mahouts help in feeding and bathing of the pachyderm.

There is an Elephant Training Institute in the state where scientific training is provided to mahouts.