Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In Pondicherry we heard of an elusive elephant that blesses it's visitors outside of a temple. Of course our curiosity was piqued by this, so many of us made sure to visit this temple to be blessed by Lakshmi the elephant. What we found was both beautiful and heartwrenching, much like many things on this trip. Lakshmi is a beautiful elephant, adorned with chalk designs on her ears and silver ankle bracelets on her front legs. Give her a few rupees change in her trunk or food, and she'll bop you on the head in blessing. What a beautiful elephant and so seemingly tame! Look a little closer and you'll see her trainer by her side yelling commands. I found myself wondering where the money in her trunk went, it didn't seem like it would go to her care, she had skin discoloration on her back and marks on her back legs where a rope may have tied her. I question whether the money continues poor treatment of this animal, or whether it fuels this community ritual where people from all over come to celebrate and be blessed by this elephant.

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