Staff Reporter

KOLLAM: The traditional ‘aanavaalpidi’ (catching the elephant’s tail) ritual organised in connection with the annual festival of the Umaynallur Sri Balasubramanya Swamy Temple will be held in the temple precincts at 11.45 a.m. on March 28. The ritual is a unique and grand public spectacle in which hundreds of devotees take part.

The temple has a history of over two millennia. Devotees believe that it was originally a Buddhist centre and converted into the Sri Balasubramanya Swamy Temple during the eighth century. The aanavaalpidi ritual has been held at the temple since then. The ritual involves a tusker running for about one hundred meters with a crowd of devotees behind it trying to catch its tail.

Temple committee president K. Vijayakumar said the ritual depicts the childhood pranks of the divine siblings Lord Ganesh and Lord Subramaniyam. Mr. Vijayakumar said that the annual festival of the temple begins on March 23 and concludes on March 30. A colourful procession of towering decorated chariots carried on their shoulders by devotees will be held on the final day.