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Temple elephants are a vital part of many temple ceremonies and festivals in Indiamarker, particularly in South India. Many major temples own elephants; others hire or are donated elephants during the festive seasons. It is estimated that India has an elephant population of about 80,000; of this, about 550 are domesticated elephants that live in Keralamarker, the southern Indian state. The Indian elephant population has actually decreased from around 100,000 at the early part of the 20th century; widespread poaching of adult male elephants for ivory has wiped out entire herds, leading to trauma among the younger elephants.

The largest elephant farm in India is Punnathurkottamarker of Guruvayoormarker Temple, and has about four dozen domesticated elephants.

Gallery on elephants



Image:temple elephant 2.jpg|The temple elephant carries the idol of the Lord of Virupaxa. The procession goes around to receive the offerings from the devotees. Location Hampimarker, Karnatakamarker.Image:temple elephant 3.jpg|The colored umbrellas and peacock quill decorated fans used with caparisoned elephants.Image:Pooram Elephant 1.jpg|An elephant carrying Thidambu during Thrissur Pooram festival, Keralamarker, south India.Image:Elephant Saluting.jpg|An elephant saluting Vadakkunathan during Thrissur pooram.Image:ThrissurPooram-Kuda.jpg|Elephants standing during Thrissur pooram festival in Keralamarker state of south India.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants10 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants11 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants2 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants4 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants5 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants6 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants7 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants8 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants9 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephants-Panchavadyam-1 crop.jpg|Caparisoned elephants during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival.Image:Thrippunithura-Elephant4 crop.jpg|An elephant named Sri Hari during Sree Poornathrayesa templemarker festival, Thrippunithura.

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