In all, 96 elephants will be featured in various ceremonies during the Thrissur Pooram this year, making it the most magnificent elephant parade in the State.
The highlight of the festival, however, will be the ‘Kudamattom' ceremony in which 30 elephants, 15 each for Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi Devaswoms, all adorned with gold-plated ornaments, will be lined up.
Colourful parasols, alavattoms and venchamarams will create a vibrant backdrop to their mighty presence.
Over the years, elephants have become inextricably linked to the culture of Kerala. They are an integral part of celebrations whether it's festival at temples, churches or mosques.
Elephant owners consider it a great honour to parade their elephants in the Thrissur Pooram.
With their grace and beauty, the gentle beasts overwhelm the sea of humanity that throngs Thrissur Pooram. A great deal of planning goes into selecting the elephants for the Pooram. The tallest of the lot will hold the ‘thidambu.' The others will be lined up according to their height in order to ensure a proportionate display.
This year, the elephant, Kuttankulangara Arjunan, is expected to bear the ‘thidambu' for the Paramekkavu Devaswom at the main events.
Thiruvambadi Sivasundar will hold the ‘thidambu' for the Thiruvambadi Devaswom. Many elephants to be paraded in the Pooram have been brought from other districts including Kottayam, Kollam and Palakkad. Meanwhile, the Thrissur-based Elephant Lovers' Association has sought strict adherence to the Kerala Captive Elephants' Management and Maintenance Rules during the conduct of the Pooram.
Citing the incidents of elephants running amok and harming people, they maintained that elephants have been behaving violently because they were allegedly ill-treated and ill-fed.
It alleged that many of the elephants to be featured in the event had a history of unruly behaviour.