Thrissur Pooram in Chennai with 'tech-elephants'
Chennai, Sep 23 (UNI) With the city police denying permission to bring elephants from Kerala, caparisoned ''life-like elephants'' would stand in might for the ''Kudamattam'' show, arranged as part of the Thrissur Pooram, organised by the Confederation of Tamil Nadu Malayalee Assocation here on September 29 and 30.
Giving details of the world famous Thrissur Pooram, organised for the first time in the city, at a press conference here, Association President M Nanda Govind said the city police had firmly denied permission to bring elephants from Kerala.
''Some of them would be mechanised elephants, operated remotely.'' They will raise their trunks and even bless the visitors, he said, addding the caparisoned life-like elephants would be displayed with full decorations, including silk umbrellas, peacock fans and yak-tail fly whiskers.
We could not dispense with elephants as they were integral for the Kudamattom show, Mr Govind said and welcomed a suggestion that the move would please animal lover Maneka Gandhi.
''This may even give a cue to the festival organisers to use life-like elephants in Kerala to avoid mishaps during the festival,'' he said.
Positioning live elephants was also expensive as it would cost about Rs 50,000 to engage an elephant on rent and to transport them to here from Kerala.
Citing security reasons, City Police Commissioner Nanjil Kumaran had denied permission even to bring two elephants from Kerala. It was considered a security risk as about 40,000 to 50,000 people were expected to take part in the two-day celebrations.
Mr Govind said the festival, a fusion of Tamil and Mayalayalam cultures, was organised as part of the annual ''Aavanipoovarangu''.
The festival would be dedicated to Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for declaring Onam a public holiday.
He said a team of 250 artists from Thrissur would perform the ''Panchavadhyam'' and all other essential components of the Pooram festival.
Artists from the South Zone cultural centre from Thanjavur would also perform, giving a flavour of Tamil culture, he added.
The grand finale of the festival would be in the form of an hour-long exquisite display of fireworks, he said.
State Governor S S Barnala would be the chief guest of the festival, which would be flagged off by Mr M P Purushothaman, Founder President of the Association.
The sports meet would be declared open by Arjuna award winner Wilson Cherian, he said.
Kerala Law Minister M Vijayakumar would deliver a special address and Mr David T Hopper, US Consul-General would be the Guest of Honour, he added.