Elephant bath, it was where everybody who visits Kandy go to see elephant when it is not the Pereharas season. Botanical garden and Elephant bath were two landmarks of visit to the city.
Now no more thanks to development projects like Polgolla dam to divert water to the dry zone.
I must address an issue that this dam caused after its opening I must retell this story for the present engineers to understand the need to release water downstream regularly to avoid similar episodes.
The downstream water spilled over the dam was not enough to cover the river bed. Soon water pools begin to form and the mosquitoes started breading in them. For the first time we started detecting Malaria in Kandy. Any place under 45oo feet Malaria mosquito can breed.
Then water samples collected with mosquito larvae confirmed that Malaria mosquito was breeding in Kandy for the first time.
Now the remedy was to spray DDT on the river bed.
This was actually the consolidation phase of Malaria campaign and we prematurely relaxed spraying with the recommendation of the WHO.
Story circulating at that time was that the resident Malaria Campaign Officer who was a foreigner, fearing his job would be axed if we successfully completed the campaign gave wrong signal to withdraw spraying prematurely.
In any case by the time of the opening of the Polgolla Dam in 1976, the malaria had spread all over and Kandy was relatively immune.
Now spraying the river bed was no feasible with people using it for bathing.
Our public officers gave the Mahaweli an order to intermittently release the water giving them correct instruction considering the life cycle of the Malaria larvae, so that the larvae get destroyed before they become mature mosquitoes.
This was a simple remedy but was very effective to arrest malaria spread in Kandy.
I do not think they still practice this simple remedy. One visit to Earl’s Reagent Hotel is enough to witness whether they are practicing common sense.
Now it was only yesterday I went to Kandy to buy something double sided sticker to stick the Telephone box to the wall. I was going from from one conner of the city to the other corner find the same without any success.
At one point the cross road and the main were blocked and people were getting ready (some Bank organizing the thing) a procession.
Very young elephant with soaring sun beating down was covered with a decorated overcoat and was kept waiting till the men and the retinue got ready.
This poor animal while baking himself in the sun was trying to lift foot/feet in rotation, giving some respite to the burning feet (it was like the restless feet of old people who suffer from a similar burning but less distressful to the owner).
It was a pathetic sight to watch and mahout was nonetheless not bothered about the young animals welfare.
They are only exhibits without real life away from the jungle habitat.
Mind you, I am one is totally against domesticating these majestic creatures.
Ill treatment is totally unacceptable.
Not only they have lost a place for bathing they have lost all sense of wellbeing under human care in this Buddhist country.
These majestic animals love water and water is a sport for them and that is how they keep them cool under a thick skin.
With global warming and even in Kandy temperature going above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, they have no comfort zone.
It is criminal. Not only humans even animals need water for survival and that water has to be good for drinking.
Which is not true today.