They all seem to be called Lakshmi.
The first one I met at the Virupaksha Temple in Hampi.
You pay a small coin for a blessing, which he takes with his trunk and passes on to his minder.
Then he touches your bowed head like this woman in Pondicherry.
That one was at the Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple. An amazingly clean temple, worth visiting to see what Hinduism would be like in a clean India – something I hadn’t imagined possible, but it works!
I hope the elephants are treated well. I daren’t look it up. The one in Hampi had a morning wash in the river and seemed fed well.
Apparently some temples have four elephants. The south of India is the place to head to see them.
I love them. It’s partly rare to get so close to an elephant. Partly there’s a magic to an animal helping you worship.
Mainly they are just graceful and loving.