Saturday, 22 September 2012

Elephants standing during Thrissur pooram festival in Kerala state of south India.


Most of the Hindu temples in Kerala own elephants, the majority of which are donated by devotees. The famous Guruvayur temple has more than 60 captive elephants. The world's only Elephant Palace is constructed in Punnattur Kotta, 3 km from the Guruvayur temple, to house the temple's elephants. A famous elephant, named Guruvayur Kesavan, belonged to this temple.
Almost all of the local festivals in Kerala include at least one richly caparisoned elephant. Elephants carry the deity during annual festival processions and ceremonial circumnambulations in the Hindu temples. The temple elephants are decorated with gold plated caparisons ("nettipattam"), bells, andnecklaces. People mounted on the elephants hold tinselled silk parasols ("muttukuda") up high, swaying white tufts ("vencamaram") and peacock feather fans ("alavattam") to the rhythm of the orchestra.[2] Seventeen elephants are engaged for the daily ceremonial rounds to the accomplishment ofPancari Melam in Kudalmanikyam temple. The headgear of seven of these elephants is made of pure gold and rest of pure silver, which is unique to this temple.