Pathanamthitta: The Travancore and Guruvayur Devaswoms have increased the rent for procession (Ezhunnalippu) of elephants. Consequently, the festivals will be more expensive from now on. Both Devaswoms decided in this regard in July. The rent for all the 51 elephants in Guruvayur has been escalated, whereas Travancore Devaswom has increased the rent for 26 out of 31 elephants under their ownership.
The rent for Padmanabhan, the most prominent elephant of Guruvayur Devaswom, has become Rs 55,000. This will rise up to Rs 82,500 during special occasions. This elephant had been rented for Rs 2.22 lakhs for Nenmara-Vallangi festival. It was the highest rent for procession in the history of domesticated elephants in Kerala. The rent for elephants named Valiya Kesavan, Indrasen and Nandan under the ownership of Guruvayur devaswom need Rs 33,000 extra on special occasions.
Travancore Devaswom’s leading elephants Arattukadav Kalidasan, Thirunakkara Sivan, Ulloor Karthikeyan, Velinalloor Manikandan and Omallur Manikandan also had a hike in the rent. Thirunakkara Sivan will need Rs 30,000 as rent whereas the rest can be rented for Rs 25,000.
The rent for Thrikkadavoor Sivaraju, one of the most popular elephants under Thiruvithamkoor Devaswom, remains Rs 1 lakh as before. Malayalappuzha Rajan, Mavelikkara Unnikrishnan, Ambalapuzha Vijayakrishnan and Mullakkal Balakrishnan can be rented for Rs 30,000. There is no hike in their rent.
The agents play middlemen by booking the elephants prior to the special events. When the festival organisers ask to rent the elephants, the agents will demand higher amounts. The organisers need to meet all the expense including the pocket money for mahouts and feed for elephants. Palm leaves to feed elephants are brought from Palakkad, paying Rs 80-100 per piece.
Rent for the major elephants
Thrikkadavoor Sivaraju – Rs 1 lakh
Guruvayur Padmanabhan – Rs 82,500
Valiya Kesavan – Rs 75,000
Indrasen – Rs 67,500
Nandan – Rs 67,500
Thiruvarattukav Kalidasan – Rs 30,000
Malayalappuzha Rajan – Rs 30,000
Mavelikkara Unnikrishnan – Rs 30,000
Ambalapuzha Vijayakrishnan – Rs 30,000
Mullakkal Balakrishnan – Rs 30,000
Thirunakkara Sivan – Rs 30,000