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Ambanis to donate rare jumbo to Tirumala temple

Business tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s son Anant Ambani is all set to donate a “rare white elephant,” to be imported from either Myanmar or Thailand, to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD).

Sources said that chief priest of Tirumala Tirupati Desvasthanam (TTD)  A V Ramana Dikshitulu has agreed to give a private blessing to Mukesh Ambani’s son Anant Ambani. 
Anant, who visited the Tirumala temple thrice since May 6, decided to add another pachyderm to the existing six elephants in temple’s stable. “When we were explaining about the elephants, he immediately decided to donate one,” said K S Srinivasa Raju, a temple official.

“Anant has already donated several milch cows, buffaloes, parrots and other animals,” he added. 

Ramana Dikshitulu said Ambanis, annual pilgrims to Tirumala, were generous donors. 

The 17-year-old Anant, according to sources, contributed lakhs of rupees for the Nitya Annadanam scheme, besides funding various schemes, including the programme to protect wild life in the Seven Hills. 

Experts, however, pointed out that there is no such thing as white elephant. “A white elephant or albino is only a metaphor. Though records show that it is a rare type of elephant, technically, it is not completely white. The colour of the body is pale to brownish which turns light pink when the skin gets wet. Compared to a black elephant, albinos have fair eyelashes and toenails,” said Wahid, curator of Nehru Zoological Park.

Elephants in Tirumala are a common sight as they have to be taken to the temple seven times a day as part of the rituals. The elephants also participate in the regular fairs of the temple. The King of Nepal, President of Sri Lanka and President of Myanmar have shown similar gestures in the past and donated elephants, cows and horses. 

While the wild species, except elephant, are let off in the forests of the Sri Venkateswara Wildlife sanctuary, the domestic animals are kept in the goshala and the animal stables on Tirumala hill.