A robot elephant, Raman, will be offered to the Lord at Sree Krishna Temple near Irinjalakuda in the Thrissur district of Kerela for ‘Nadayiruthal’ ceremony on 26 February, reportedly for the first time in the State.
Elephants are the main vehicle in temple festivals. It is also customary to bless the devotees who visit the temple with an elephant. Especially in Kerala, due to the large number of elephants, special festivals are held with them. Nadayiruthal ceremony is the ritual where elephants are offered before the presiding deities of the temples. From that day onwards the elephant becomes the property of that temple.
The robot elephant, which was contributed by a group of devotees of the temple, operates on five motors. It was manufactured by the four sculptors namely Prashanth, Santo, Jinesh and Robin, natives of Chalakudy. The robotic elephant with the height of 11ft and weight 800kg has been made using an iron frame with rubber coating.
“This elephant has been designed in such a way that it can swing its tails and ears just like the living ones.
It can also spray water through its trunk when the mahout presses a switch. Electric motors have been fitted inside the robotic elephant for these functions,” said Prashanth.
As per the sources, “the elephant has been built at a cost of Rs 5 lakh. Four people can sit atop the elephant for the usual temple processions.”
According to Rajkumar Namboothiri, one of the office-bearers of the temple, it is not wrong to opt for robots in contemporary times where one has to spend lakhs for hiring elephants.
This step will be helpful to avoid the various risks and costs involved in maintaining and parading live elephants. They said that they also wanted to avoid torturing of live elephants.
They also hoped this step could be a pioneering initiative to be followed by other temples as well.