Guruvayoor: The biggest training camp where some 180 mahouts are being taught about how to take care of elephants will end here Thursday, according to an official of the famous Sree Krishna temple at Guruvayoor.
Guruvayoor Devasom Board president T.V. Chandramohan told IANS Wednesday that this was the first time training of such high magnitude was being conducted.
"Of the 180 who are being trained, 54 are new recruits. The training programme has been scheduled for five days and it ends tomorrow (Thursday)," said Chandramohan, a former Congress legislator.
The famous temple in the state is the single largest holder of captive elephants numbering 63, which it got over the years through donations by devotees.
Unni Krishnan, the livestock manager of the temple and the one who is overseeing the training, said the five-day training covers all aspects of how a mahout should be effective and disciplined.
"The new 54 recruits have been appointed on a temporary basis and they have to be given a complete crash course on basic elephant care besides on how to conduct themselves. They also have to be trained on the temple culture and traditions," said Krishnan.
Though the minimum qualification of the mahout should be a Class VII pass out, many of the new trainees are graduates.
"I come from a family of mahouts where I am the third generation and am happy I choose this family profession," said a new trainee.
The classes are handled by very senior temple mahouts besides experts and also veterinarians who provide the basic health care tips.
"The five-day training included class room training, besides over all capacity development as elephant handling is certainly professional and one learns the trick of the trade through experience," added Krishnan.
On Thursday, the State Minister for Forest K.B. Ganesh Kumar, who is also an elephant owner, will interact with the mahouts and their families.
"The family of the mahouts also has a role and hence they have been also called," said Rajagopal, the assistant manager of the temple.