In a country where elephants are worshiped, you will not believe what the members of this Hindu temple do to them

The famous Guruvayur Temple in Kerala houses 57 skinny elephants with skeleton likes heads. Rich people have been donating and gifting elephants to this temple for years as a status simple assuming the temple staff will train the elephants to later use them during festivals and celebrations. The many national parks and sanctuaries bring new elephants from Guruvayur Temple. According to Liz Jones’ report for Daily Mail UK, the elephants captured in the temple looked like mere statues and figures. The way they have been tied to trees and stumps to prevent them from moving even an inch introduces one to the horrors of the innocent creatures tortured at the temple.

Who can imagine an elephant to relax when its tied like this for 20 years?

Poor Nandan is a 43-year-old tusker, who has been sitting at this spot with his hind leg tied to a stump and front other leg tied stretched to a tree. The poor elephant has not moved at all and tied for 20 sad years!


Meet Vinayaka! Notice the iron rod near his mouth?

If it falls due to any movement made by him, the mahout (elephant caretaker) standing next to him, will beat Vinayaka for an hour with it. 

_Vinayaka_at the temple

Another elephant named, Padmanabhan has been tied for 35 years with a broken hind leg. His leg deliberately broken to subdue him.

All the 57 elephants in the temple are beaten with ankush, a stick with a metal hook on the end for an hour, twice, everyday.


The elephants are kept in kraal.

Kraal has two rooms with each containing a teenage male elephant in a small space so he cannot move. The elephants in kraal have been captured for 6 months without any rest, shade or water.


A female elephant named Devi has been tied for 35 years. She too hasn’t moved a bit in the temple. Elephants are blinded so they solely become dependent  to their mahouts.

A country where elephants are worshiped like gods for they remind Hindus of their lord Ganesha, how can anyone treat them inhumanly and that too in a Hindu temple?

“It is the opposite of Hinduism. There were no elephants at that temple before 1969, which is when Hindu families, experiencing hard times due to land reforms, donated their elephants because they could no longer care for them”, theologian and elephant expert Venkita Chalam told Liz Jones for Daily Mail.

captive elephant

“With the oil boom in the 1970’s, when lots of Indians became rich, donating a ‘sacred’ elephant became a status symbol.”

“And using elephants in festivals only started in the mid-1970s. This is not ancient, this is new.” He further told her. 

a baby elephant

There are around 4,000 elephants captured in India and 80 % of them are in Kerala.

The families in the temple think the elephants are well taken care of in the temple and are fine with the way they are kept in the secretive training camps.

If one can not imagine oneself sitting in one position for an hour, how can one think an animal will be comfortable enough to be in the same uncomfortable posture for his life?

This report was originally made by Liz Jones for Daily Mail who witnessed the horrifying scenes at the Guruvayur Temple and its secret training camps. You can read more on this story and how STAE, Save The Asian Elephants is making all the efforts to free the captive elephants here.

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