Keonjhar (Odisha): People of a village in Odisha went inside a forest to prepare mahua’, a traditional country liquor, but found that a herd of elephants already devoured the water fermented with the intoxicating flowers and are in deep sleep.
The villagers living near Shilipada cashew forest in Keonjhar district saw that a total of 24 jumbos, who were apparently drunk, were sleeping near the place where mahua flowers were kept in water in large pots for fermentation.
“We went into the jungle at around 6 am to prepare mahua and found that all the pots were broken and the fermented water is missing. We also found that the elephants were sleeping. They consumed the fermented water and got drunk,” Naria Sethi, a villager, said.
There were nine tuskers, six females and nine calves.
“That liquor was unprocessed. We tried to wake up the animals but failed. The forest department was then informed,” he said.
Forest department personnel after reaching the spot in the jungle under the Patana forest range had to beat drums to wake the herd up.
The elephants then went deep inside the forest, said Ghasiram Patra, the forest ranger.
Sethi said the herd left the place at around 10 am.
The forest official, however, is not sure whether the elephants got drunk after consuming fermented mahua.
“Maybe, they were just resting there,” Patra said.
Villagers, on the other hand, insisted that they spotted the elephants sleeping in intoxicated conditions at various places close to the broken pots on Tuesday.
The flowers of Mahua tree (Madhuca longifolia) are fermented to produce an alcoholic drink also called Mahua. Tribal men and women in various parts of India traditionally make this liquor.