29th August 2014, Sarojini Nagar, New Delhi, India. Female elephant Gulabo passes a rupee note placed in her trunk by a devotee to her handler during Gaja (elephant) pooja at the Sree Vinayaka Mandir in New Delhi, India on the 29th August 2014.
Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the god Ganesha, the elephant-headed, remover of obstacles and the god of beginnings and wisdom.
Elephant handlers (Mahouts) eke out a living in makeshift camps on the banks of the Yamuna River in New Delhi. They survive on a small retainer paid by the elephant owners and by giving rides to passers by. The owners keep all the money from hiring the animals out for religious festivals, events and weddings, they also are involved in the illegal trade of captive elephants.The living conditions and treatment of elephants kept in cities in North India is extremely harsh, the handlers use the banned 'ankush' or bullhook to control the animals through daily beatings, the animals have no proper shelters are forced to walk on burning hot tarmac and stand for hours with their feet chained together.
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