Onam celebrations are reaching a peak at the Thrikkakara temple, the seat of the Onam legend, where Uthradom day observations included a feast for nine elephants after pooja and other rituals.

Thousands of devotees, drawn from different faiths and communities, are attending the rituals and other programmes that are organised as part of the 10-day celebrations that culminate on Thiruvonam day with a feast for nearly 10,000 people.

Come Onam season, eyes turn to Thrikkakara, where the legend says King Mahabali once resided. The recollection of his virtuous rule and his annual return to visit his subjects are celebrated fittingly with both temple rituals and a host of cultural programmes.

The celebrations start with the hoisting of the festive flag on Atham day, which fell this year on August 21.

The participation of popular elephants is one of the key features of the rituals. Among them that participated in the rituals on Tuesday were Chembuthara Devidasan, Cherpulassery Parthan, Puthuppally Kesavan and Puthuppally Sadhu, Kanjiramkottu Shekharan, Vellappilly Kutti Shankaran, Pallathamkulangara Gireesan, Kizhoottu Vishwanathan and Manjummel Ranganathan.

Frequent rains through last week have not prevented devotees from coming to the temple for the rituals related to the Onam festivities though the highlight of Uthradam day festivities, pakalppooram, was delayed because of the rain.

Part of the programmes on Tuesday was a Chiriarangu, a laughter forum, in which Mar Chrisostom Valiya Thirumeni, noted poet Chemman Chacko and cartoonist Sajeev participated.

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