Thrissur (Kerala), April 22 (ANI): Thousands of people witnessed the annual Elephant Festival held here over the weekend.
The troupe of drummers, roaring crowd, and the decorated elephants, which carried the deities from different temples on their back added to the grandeur of the parade.
The festival parade culminated in the grounds of Vadakkunnathan Temple.
Mohammad Fazal Karim, a resident of Bangalore, said: "We are Muslims and this is a non-Muslim festival. We are very happy to see this kind of atmosphere of friendliness, and there is no casteism. Our guest, P R Joseph, is a Christian, we are Muslim, and this is a very big Hindu festival. We had heard a lot about it, and today, we are very pleased to see it and the kind of unity present in India."
Ornaments, umbrellas and other items adorned the elephants as they stood on display for the public at the temples of Parmekavu and Thivambady.
The festival is celebrated annually in the month of Medam (mid April and May first) as per the Malayalam calendar.
The umbrellas adorned on the various elephants are kept a secret till the last minute as the show remains a competition between the major temples in Thrissur.
A large number of devotees and enthusiasts acted as judges.
The participating temples include the Vadakunnathan, the Krishna at Thiruvambadi and the Devi at Paramekkavu.
Tourist Stan Sherman said: "It's actually very amazing, the fireworks on Friday night were spectacular and they were just the start. Now I am seeing the elephants for the first time, this is truly a very amazing festival and I am very pleased to be here."
According to tradition and custom, on Pooram Day, around 100 or more caparisoned elephants take part in a parade. Kudamattam or the exchange of umbrellas is the main attraction of the event.
Thissur Pooram is one of the biggest festivals in Kerala. It is believed that King Sakthan, who ruled Cochin in the late 18th century, started the festival.
The word 'Pooram' literally means a group or a meeting. It is believed that the gods and goddesses meet for a day of celebration, which falls in the month of April-May every year. (ANI)