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Srirangam temple elephant gets a new home

Andal, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple elephant, coming out of the new shelter in Srirangam on Monday.M. SrinathM_SRINATH

A new shelter has been established to house 39-year-old Andal, the female elephant of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple inside the temple premises. The nearly 18 feet height new shelter has come up on an area measuring around 6,000 square feet right behind the Sri Venugopalan Sannidhi and adjoining the Ul Andal Sannidhi inside the temple premises.

Constructed at cost of around Rs. 30 lakh using stones, the elephant shelter has two rooms for the pachyderm and one for the mahout. Sand has been filled up inside the two rooms to keep the animal in a cool environment and to make the surface compatible to its legs. Two rooms have been constructed for the animal with one to serve as a standby. Temple authorities said the new structure has been constructed in such way that the animal could move easily inside. The separate room for the mahout will also serve for storing fodder for the animal which weighs nearly 4,300 kilograms. The authorities said Andal was being taken care of by two mahouts round-the-clock.

The new structure is spacious and has proper ventilation and it has been supervised by the Forest Department officials, the temple authorities further said.

The establishment of a new structure was felt as the existing one constructed in 2005 near the east gopuram (Vellai Gopuram) was found to be affecting the view of the the compound wall a - heritage structure, said the authorities.

The huge open space in front of the elephant shelter would be landscaped with the works expected to be completed soon. A barricade would be put up at the entrance to ensure that visitors do not enter into the area where the animal is to be housed. One of the mahouts would be with the animal in the separate room during night, said the authorities.


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