Veterinary doctors examine elephants participating in Thrissur festival

Thrissur, Tue, 01 May 2012 ANI

Thrissur (Kerala), May 1 (ANI): Veterinary doctors are examining elephants that are likely to take part in the traditional festival of Thrissur Pooram in Kerala.

During the festival, over 100 caparisoned elephants will pass through the town.

Preparations are in full swing with two teams of specialists comprising of vets and forest officials checking the physical condition of the elephants with an aim to select the fittest for the festival.

"Every year, we check the elephants. If the elephants are having musth (a period when elephants display highly aggressive behaviour), then we remove the elephant from the list, because it is a very important fair. We also check the heath as well as the microchip number that is inside the elephant's body, so we can identify the animal very easily. We carry out this process every year for the betterment of the function of Pooram," said Giridas, a veterinary doctor.

Giridas added that 92 elephants are required for the Thrissur Pooram festival, which takes place in seven major temples of a nearby village; however. He said there is stiff competition between the two wealthiest temples Parmekavu and Thiruvambady.

"Thrissur Pooram is a very precious fair. We are examining elephants before participation. We have 92 elephants or this entire programme and we have 15 elephants for Parmekavu and15 for Thiruvambady. The main elephants are used for Pooram and the other elephants are for seven small temples having Pooram. In total, we are having 92 elephants," said Giridas.

Two elephants were disqualified during the annual process of shot listing on Monday, which lasted for around four hours.

The selected elephants have been put on special diet from Monday onwards till the day of the grand celebration.

The fireworks and exhibition draws a large number of devotees and enthusiasts every year.

The festival is celebrated every year in the month of Medam (mid April and May first) as per the Malayalam calendar year.

According to customs, on Pooram day, around 100 or more caparisoned elephants take part in the public processions and during the culmination, which is called the Kudamattam, the exchange of umbrellas is the main attraction of the event.

The festival was introduced by King Sakthan Thampuran of the erstwhile Kochi kingdom of the state in the late 18th century. (ANI)

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