The majestic ‘Avayambal’ from Mayuranathar Temple in Mayiladuthurai and ‘Deivanai’ from Subramaniasamy temple in Tiruchendur were among the first ones to stroll into the campsite around 7am. Both the elephants were weighed and taken to the camp after a special puja was performed in their honour. The elephants got down from the lorries in specially made ramps. Despite a tiring journey, the elephants seemed to show signs of remembrance and boded well with each other.
However, high drama ensued when the lorry laden with elephant Kalyani from Patteeswarar temple in Perur in Coimbatore was set to leave for the camp as a local DMK functionary Gnanavel and his wife blocked its way alleging ill- treatment by the mahout. They blocked the lorry demanding to change the mahout of Kalyani as he failed to take good care of the elephant. After talks that stretched for more than an hour, the lorry carrying Kalyani left for the campsite. Health checks were performed on all elephants to ensure they were in good condition for joining the rejuvenation camp.
Officials said that 26 elephants from temples and mutts are participating in the annual rejuvenation camp to be inaugurated on Monday.
At the camp site, the elephants were provided with a walking track, bathing shower and medical care facilities.
A large team of Forest Department staff have been deployed to prevent wild elephants from straying into the solar fenced camp site.
A pet project of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, the rejuvenation camp started way back in 2003 to provide adequate rest for jumbos with nutritious food and medical treatment