Elephants are revered in India. In fact it is the representation of Ganesha that a blessing from an elephant is an important part of the pilgrimage of Indians in Sri Krishna Matha (Temple of Lord Krishna) in Udupi District, Karnataka, India. It is located just before one enters the temple where thousands of pilgrims enter.
It was told that this elephant does not just bless anybody. One needs to give an offering so it will be more motivated to do so; i.e., money offering, which is just any amount. I wanted to experience this but I had no lose change. Good thing, one of our hosts offered 10 and 20 Rupee bills so off I went. It was a bit daunting because the elephant was huge and scary! I had to hand it over to the trunk of the elephant. As soon as the elephant gets the cash, it will raise its trunk and tap your head which is supposedly the blessing. Was it good? I think it was just so cool, but I think that was a hard tap and my brain seemed changed positions! Nonetheless, the experience was exhilarating that I had to encourage my companions to do it.
When we were all done, a commotion happened at the left side facing the elephants. Some Indians were angry at the caretaker/handler of the elephant. As translated by our host, they were mad because we were given the chance to be blessed and they were not, when in fact they even gave a big banana bunch to the elephant! An argument ensued between them and the handler. At this time, we chose to leave lest we want to get embroiled into the conflict.
Apparently, the elephant does not do any "blessing" if it is NOT given cash as offering to Ganesha! It looks funny, but it was a big deal to the believers of Ganesha.
One thing more, the handler does not allow photography with a flash as it might distract the elephant and turn wild. Now that is scary! So I had to make sure the flash is turned off and had to hide my camera from the view of the handler.
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