Thrissur Pooram stares at crisis after Govt bans Kerala's most-loved elephant
Thrissur, May 09: The fate of this year's Thrissur Pooram hangs in balance, as Kerala's biggest cultural festival has hit a road block over the ban of one-eyed celebrity elephant named 'Thechikottukavu Ramachandran.'
The 54-year-old tusker which has enough fan clubs and die-hard admirers in the state, was taken out of temple duty after it ran amok on February 8. It is partially blind after his mahout struck on his left eye with an iron-hooked stick decades ago. It has killed as many as 13 people so far and three elephants.
Yet, Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, the 55-year-old jumbo has a fan following that rivals film stars, especially in central Kerala where captive elephants are still a feudal status symbol of the festival venues.
The decision has however triggered widespread protests, with Kerala Elephant Owners' Federation, backed by right wing outfits, up in arms against the government.
Meanwhile, the Thrissur district administration is determined to not feature the elephant in Thrissur Pooram.
Kerala's chief wildlife warden had submitted a report to government stating that allowing the elephant at the festival will be dangerous.
About Thrissur Pooram:
Thrissur Pooram is an annual Hindu temple festival held in Kerala, India. It is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year on the Pooram day - the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam. It is the largest and most famous of all poorams.
Most pooram festivals have at least one ornately decorated elephant being paraded in the procession taken out of the temple precincts.
From the day of sample fireworks till the conclusion, the city will host several lakh visitors including foreigners.