Orissa’s Gaja-Lakshmi puja spreads ’save jumbos’ message

November 14th, 2007 - 2:59 am ICT by admin  
Bhubaneswar, Oct.28 (ANI): Organisers at the makeshift temples, set up during the ongoing Gaja-Lakshmi puja here, are drawing public attention towards the killings of several pachyderms in the State in the recent times through a “Save the Elephants” campaign.

Statues of 50 elephants have been put up at a popular make-shift temple here by a group of sculpture students to draw public attention on their deplorable condition.

During the week-long Gaja-Lakshmi Puja, Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, are worshipped by devotees visiting the make-shift temples.

“We wanted to give a message that today the elephant is an unprotected animal. Poachers are hunting them for their teeth. And, many elephants die in the forests due to various reasons, the news of which does not even reach people or forest officials. We want the elephant should be protected,” said Sanak Nayak, the organiser of the makeshift temple.

“Nearly 50 elephants are coming out of a jungle to pay obeisance to the Goddess since they are her devotees as well,” Nayak added.

These elephant replicas have been put up around Goddess Lakshmi idols and captivating devotees’ attention. All have appreciated an attempt for a good cause.

“When people pay obeisance to the Goddess, they will also learn how these animals are being killed rapidly for convenience and use of human being. This message will reach adults as well as children who come along here. Otherwise, the day is not far away when we will fail to find any elephant around,” said Kanak Kar, a devotee.

Moreover, Hindus worship Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth on Diwali along with the Lord Ganesha to seek wealth and prosperity. She is described to have emerged during mythological churning of the ocean between Gods and Demons, sits on a lotus flower.

The Gaja-Lakshmi Puja will conclude on November 3.

Orissa has an estimated 1,800 elephants, but its shrinking habitat force the animal cross over the human settlements, often coming in conflict with man.

At least 151 elephants were poached in the state between 1991- 2001 while 125 elephants are believed to have died of natural reasons or epidemics.

The State environment and forest ministry has drawn up a Project Elephant to conserve the Asiatic elephant population in the country.

India has an estimated 30,000 wild and captive elephants.

Many captured elephants end up in the Hindu temples, particularly in the South India where they are viewed as a symbol of prosperity and participated in ceremonies. (ANI)

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