There’s a new elephant (God) in town!
It might be very normal to see an elephant at the zoo, but a statue of an elephant headed Hindu God to be found at a zoo in Adelaide was very unusual.
When Munish Sarda visited Adelaide Zoo last year, he found this statue sitting next to the old elephant enclosure.
“I was devastated seeing Lord Ganesha in that condition,” he told Indian Link.
Mr Sarda then contacted various Hindu communities in Adelaide to ensure that the Lord would receive due respect. Finally, this Ganesh Chaturthi, the statue was provided with due honour along with a special makeshift temple at Adelaide Zoo, in a ceremony with full Hindu rituals.
Chirag Trivedi of the Hindu Social and Welfare Council of SA took it upon his shoulders to connect with the archaeology department.
“When I approached the archaeology Department of Flinders University of South Australia, I was surprised at the findings,” he said. “The idol that was left neglected was a contemporary Balinese copy of Javanese ingasari / Majapahit period, probably of a well-known 13th century Javanese Boro Ganesa statute in Blitar, East Java. It was a serious matter now, not just about faith and religion, but also about history,” Trivedi continued.
Gagan Sharma, President of the Hindu Society of Australia took this up with Zoo authorities and local government ministers.
“We had no idea that this idol is so important to Hindus. We have no idea how it came here. I have been working at this zoo for over 35 years and it (the idol of Lord Ganesha) could be around 40-50 years old,” said Jeff Lugg, General Manager, Operations, Adelaide Zoo.
“We appreciate the support from the Adelaide Zoo authorities,” said Nihal Agar, President of the Hindu Council of Australia, who flew to Adelaide from Sydney especially to attend this ceremony. “We are performing some Hindu rituals to celebrate the occasion of the Lord’s birth anniversary that happens to be on 17 September, according to the English calendar. We need the support of the community now to show our affection towards Lord Ganesha.”
So if you are in Adelaide and take a trip to the zoo, make sure to go and get a blessing from the auspicious Ganesha of Adelaide Zoo.