Thrissur (Kerala), Apr 17 : Thousands of people thronged to witness 'Thrissur Pooram', the annual elephant festival in Kerala on Wednesday.
The two-century old temple festival 'Thrissur Puram', named after the place where it is held, attracted thousands of tourists who lined up to see a breathtaking parade of 30 richly caparisoned elephants at the Vadakumnathan temple in Thrissur.
The biggest of all elephant festivals in the state, 'Thissur Pooram' is a 36-hour long affair dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Hindu God.
The festival commenced with the arrival of a small elephant processions, which carried their respective deities from various temples in different villages across Thrissur, and culminated at the grounds of Vadakumnathan temple.
The final show concluded with the caparisoned elephants and kudamattam' (exchange of colorful umbrellas) rituals with the two rival temples of Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady Devaswoms, the two chief promoters of the Pooram since its commencement in 1798.
Pooram is basically a show of caparisoned elephants and exchange of huge colorful umbrellas, which are made secretly and produced on the final day and exchanged as the opponent temples change their umbrella. The umbrella varies from different shapes, size and color. Each temple spends days and lakhs of rupees to make these umbrellas. Another major attraction of the festival was the famous Elanjithara Mellam, a percussion show performed by hundreds of artist using drums, air pipe and cymbals. Thousands of people showed their enthusiasm by jumping and dancing to the rhythms of drums and cymbals during the percussion show. "I have been coming here for the past few years to see the special percussion show which many people gather to see. It is the main attraction of this festival because of its grandeur and fame with so many artists. It will always remain Thrissur Pooram's most appealing part.
It is wonderful and I feel happy that I am able to attend this," said C.R. Prasad, a tourist.
For foreign tourists, the festival was an excellent opportunity to get a taste of Indian tradition and culture.
"I'm here for Pooram because I've heard it is one of the greatest festivals of southern India. It's an amazing display of religious devotion. So far, I've seen the elephant procession to the temple and it's truly something amazing to see," said John Rogers, a tourist from USA.
It is believed that King Sakthan, who ruled Cochin in the late 18th century, started the festival.
Hindus revere elephants as an incarnation of elephant god Ganesha, the Lord of luck and prosperity.
The word "Pooram" literally means a group or a meeting and it is believed that the gods and goddesses meet for a day of celebration, which falls in the month of April-May every year. By Juhan Samuel