54-year-old Celebrity jumbo Ramachandran opens Thrissur Pooram festival in Kerala
Thrissur, May 12: The opening of the famed Thrissur Pooram festival on Sunday was attended by more than 10,000 people after the district administration revoked its ban on parading the Kerala's tallest elephant 'Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran' in the famous festival.
Thrissur Pooram is an annual temple festival of Kerala which will take place on May 13 this year. Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, the tallest elephant in Kerala, has long been the centre of a controversy.
On Saturday, Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran' was given conditional nod to participate in the famous Thrissur Pooram temple festival in Kerala.
The decision eventually ended the debate that began in April after the administration banned the elephant from the festival citing its ill health and violent behaviour. The 55-year-old elephant has trampled upon 14 people since late 1990s and is blind in one eye.
The last time Ramachandran went out of control was just three months ago, on February 8, when he trampled upon two people at a housewarming ceremony in Thrissur district. Despite his notoriety, the jumbo enjoys a massive fan following thanks to his imposing physique. Fans have created at least 10 Facebook pages for him.
The clearance to the government was given after a team of three veterinarians conducted the medical examination of the 54-year-old elephant.
The team had also submitted a report to the Thrissur collector TV Anupama stating that the elephant was fit to participate in the "vilambaram" ritual as part of 'pooram'.
After the Kerala high court on Friday refused to intervene in the matter, the state government had sought legal opinion from Additional Advocate General Renjith Thampan on the matter.
He had advised the government that the tusker can be permitted for participating only in 'pooram' festival with certain restrictions.
The main event of the 'pooram' begins with the 10.5-foot tall elephant pushing open the southern entrance gate of the ancient Vadakkumnathan temple here, with the idol of 'neithilakkavilamma' atop it, symbolising the start of the festivities.
The annual 'pooram' festival, considered as the mother of all temple festivals in the state, is known for its colourful fireworks extravaganza and display of caparisoned elephants.
Meanwhile, Thrissur, the state's cultural capital, is under a thick security cover with 3,500 policemen being deputed on duty till May 14. People staying in lodges and hotels would be under surveillance.