First time in 47 yrs, a woman to helm Guruvayur's famous elephant camp

Lejumol PR being appointed as the manager of Punnathurkotta. Photo: Facebook /@guruvayurdevaswom

For the first time in its 47-year history, the Guruvayur Devaswom's famous temple-elephant camp has a woman at the helm.

Mammiyur-native Lejumol PR has been appointed as the manager of Punnathurkotta, which houses 44 elephants and employs over 150 persons.

"It is a proud feeling to be the first woman to hold this position," Lejumol told Onmanorama. "It is a huge responsibility."

While the historic appointment was a surprise, caring for temple elephants is not a mammoth task for Lejumol, for whom it is a passion that runs in the family.

Temple elephants fed at Punnathurkotta. File photo

Her father Raveendran Nair was a mahout at Punnathurkotta. Her father-in-law, Sankaranarayanan recently retired from the facility and her husband Prasad, who runs a hotel now, had a brief stint at Punnathurkotta.

"We are an elephant-loving family," chuckles Lejumol, who has two sons, Akshay Krishna and Ananthakrishnan.

Her father had died while in service and she was appointed under the dying-in-harness scheme. Lejumol had started as an LD Clerk in 1996 and rose through the ranks. She was assistant manager for the past eight months prior to the promotion.

Punnathurkotta houses 44 temple elephants. "All our elephants are used for temple rituals alone. Every day a minimum of five are taken to the temple as part of rituals," said Lejumol.

Punnathurkotta which was set up in 1975 with 21 elephants had in its prime housed over 60.

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