Thirty-three-year-old Gopi Kannan of Guruvayur Devaswom won the elephant race (‘aanayottam’) here on Friday, which marked the opening of the 10-day festival at the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple.
Kannan and Achuthan finished second and third. Gopi Kannan won the race for the fourth time. The race was held from Manjulal to the Eastern Gopura Nada. V. Unni, K. Manoj and Manikandan were the mahouts of Gopi Kannan. The race began at 3 p.m. Though 34 elephants had lined up at the starting point at Manjulal, only five actually participated in the race. A team of veterinarians examined the elephants before the race. After the race, the elephants were taken to the temple.