One could not enter any major street without bumping into an elephant. They were all over the place, drinking gallons of water and chewing watermelon and cucumber

Revellers packed the city streets on Tuesday to soak in every bit of the Thrissur Pooram — the elephant parades, ensembles, religious ceremonies and the pyrotechnics.

It offered something for everyone. Elephant lovers got to see 38 majestic tuskers, 30 of them at the main parade. People devoted to temples and their customs admired the festival's celebration of age-old rituals, especially the processions carrying the deities of the Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu temples to the Sree Vadakkannathan temple in the heart of the city. For the music lovers, there were some of the best performances of Kerala's traditional ensembles — Chembada Melam, Pandi Melam and Panchavadyam.

Elephants everywhere

One could not enter any major street without bumping into an elephant. The entire city smelled of elephant dung. The animals were all over the place, swaying their ears, drinking gallons of water and chewing watermelon and cucumber. Prior to the parades, the elephants drank around 9,000 litres of water.

Maestros Annamanada Parameswara Marar, Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, Kizhakoottu Aniyan Marar and Chottanikkara Vijayan were the heroes of the day. Hundreds of drummers and pipers, their bodies glistening with sweat, drummed up excitement at Thiruvambady's Panchavadyam at the ‘Madathil Varavu' ceremony and Paramekkavu's Ilanjithara Melam played under an Ilanji tree.

Lakhs of people watched around 80 sets of colourful umbrellas being unfurled atop elephants in a ceremony called ‘Kudamattom'.

Those who missed the ceremonies had no cause for worry. The entire event of the day is repeated at night.