Hundreds of people gathered in front of Sree Vadakkunnathan temple to witness ‘Aanayoottu' (feast for elephants) on Sunday morning.
It turned out to be a miniature Thrissur Pooram with people's fascination for elephants knowing no bounds. The ground was packed to capacity. Children were seen perched on their parents' shoulders.
Using their cellphones, many visitors captured images of the jumbos from different angles as 45 elephants polished off 500kg rice mixed with honey, ghee and turmeric powder.
The voracious eaters among the pachyderms did not stop with the main course and gulped down loads of bananas, jaggery, honey, corn, cucumber, watermelon, pineapple and sugarcane.
To kick off the eating marathon, temple melshanti (chief priest) Kottampilly Narayanan Namboodiri offered rice balls to three-year-old elephant, Chettuva Kannan, around 9 a.m.
Therambil Ramakrishnan, MLA, Cochin Devaswom Board president M. C. S. Menon, Thiruvambady Devaswom president M. Madhavankutty, secretary C. Vijayan, Paramekkavu Devaswom joint secretary V. M. Sasi and Kshetra Kshema Samithi president Kunnambathu Balakrishna Menon were present.
About 230 police personnel were deployed on the grounds. The event was insured for Rs. 1 crore by the New India Assurance Company Limited.
An ‘Ashta dravya maha ganapathi homam' (offering holy material in sacrificial fire to propitiate Lord Ganesa) was performed by 50 priests, led by thanthri Puliyannur Sankaranarayanan Namboodiri, between 5 a.m. and 6.15 a.m.
In all, 10,008 cococuts, 3,500 kg jaggery, 1,500 kg avil (flattened rice), 300 kg malar (puffed rice), 300 kg ghee, 100 kg honey, 100 kg sesame and lemon were used for the pooja.
As many as 5,000 people partook of the ceremonial feast at the temple.
The events were held as part of the observance of special religious ceremonies in the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam.