Thousands witness Thrissur pooram

As many as 98 elephants were paraded on the ‘Thekkinkadu’ hillock ground premises of the Vadakkunnathan Temple at Thrissur town for the Pooram fest, right from the early hours of Monday. Percussion performance by hundreds of performers, including well-known players, reverberated in Thrissur town for hours. Padma award winner percussionist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar even fainted during the performance. PTI file photo

Thousands of people, including foreign tourists, thronged Thrissur in Kerala on Monday to witness the internationally famed Thrissur Pooram festival, braving the scorching sun.

As many as 98 elephants were paraded on the ‘Thekkinkadu’ hillock ground premises of the Vadakkunnathan Temple at Thrissur town for the Pooram fest, right from the early hours of Monday. Percussion performance by hundreds of performers, including well-known players, reverberated in Thrissur town for hours. Padma award winner percussionist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar even fainted during the performance.

The major attraction of the Pooram was the display by 30 elephants decked with caparisons, with 15 each on either sides, by evening. While one side represented the ‘Paramekkavu’ region of Thrissur, the other side represented the ‘Thiruvambady’ region.

Persons sitting on top of the elephants displayed colourful umbrellas and other decoratives one after the other as a competition that extended for about two hours. Apart from colourful led light umbrellas, displays reflecting contemporary issues like the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple women entry and martyrs who killed in the borders were the attractions of this year’s Pooram. People hurrahed in joy as each display came up.

A colourful firework during the early hours of Tuesday will mark the culmination of the major events of this year’s Pooram.

Even as this year’s Pooram was marked with row over parading of elephants flouting norms as well as the security threats, public turn out was good. Though the police planned tight security screenings, the crowd was beyond control.

Elephant rights activists have been calling for stringent controls of the Thrissur Pooram citing cruelty towards animals. They allege that all prescribed safety norms were thrown to winds this time as well, and people could be seen staying close to elephants. Many elephants were made to stand continuously without rest for up to nine hours, while the norms suggest that it should be limited to a maximum of six hours.

Elephant rights activist V K Venkitachalam said that Kerala government had issued an order granting exemption to the norms for the Thrissur Pooram in 2013. Based on that all norms were now being violated.

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