One of the most popular tourist sights in Pondicherry is Lakshmi the elephant. Lakshmi stands outside the Ganesh temple on Manakula Vinayagar Koil Street for a few hours every morning and evening. A local celebrity, she gets many visitors who come to receive her blessings and feed her treats like fruit, bunches of grass and sugarcane they buy from the stalls outside the temple. If you offer her a coin, she’ll take it with her trunk, hand it to her mahout (keeper) and give you her blessing by lightly tapping you on the head.
I found this short article which tells Lakshmi’s story.
I took this picture of Lakshmi in early 2003, almost ten years ago.
Lakshmi was smaller then, and noticeably thinner. As you can see, the same mahout is with her (he seems to have changed less than Lakshmi).
Meet Lakshmi the elephant: