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Plan To Ban Elephants Blessing Devotees in Tamil Nadu Temples

Some of the famous temples in Tamil Nadu have elephants in the temple premises that bless the devotees. The devotees in return give money and some people also give fruits, sugarcane, jaggery and bananas along with money. This is an age-old practice and now the wildlife authorities in Tamil Nadu are planning to ban the practice as they feel it is a stress on the animal.

Elephants are seen as the living incarnations of Hindu God Ganesha by many Hindus and the blessing them from is considered sacred. But many Hindus don’t realize the torture the poor animals go through.

For elephant owners and trainers the poor animals are a source of income. For this the elephants are made to stand for long hours in the hot sun. They are also tortured to perform the act of blessing. Some people also decorate the elephants with chemical paints which cause rashes on its skin.

NDTV reports

Wildlife officials have asked temple authorities to put an end to the practice as trainers torture the elephants, compelling them to 'bless' pilgrims, sometimes leaving them injured.

Moreover, elephants like humans suffer from diseases like asthma and tuberculosis and it might spread to pilgrims, the authorities said.

Chief wildlife warden R Sundarajaru had recently issued a circular instructing the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) department, which is maintaining temples, to stop the practice.

Wildlife department had also asked temple authorities not to keep the elephants on concrete floors as it would damage the foot of the animals.

HR and CE officials said they were discussing the ban.

"Any decision should not hurt the religious sentiments of the pilgrims," they said.

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