‘Thrissur Pooram’, which is considered to be the mother of all poorams was celebrated on Friday with thousands of people attending the grand festival. The majestic parade followed by face-to-face meeting of 30 richly caparisoned elephants (15 each from the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady temples) besides ‘kudamattam’ and change of colourful ornamental silk parasols, was a real treat to witness.
Locals as well as foreigners attended the royal festival at the Thekkinkadu ground in Kerala. The number of events at the festival mesmerised the audiences, which include ‘Panchavadyam’ and ‘Pandimelam’, the music ensembles in front of elephants by the percussionists. The display of ‘nettipattams’, the golden caparisons, ‘venchamaram’, the ornamental fan made of peacock feathers and ‘muthukkuda’, the decorative umbrellas were some of the other events which the audiences appreciated a lot.
Not only this, Rasool Pookutty, the Oscar award winner was also present at the festival with his team to capture the sounds at the grand spectacle for the visually challenged. “This is a huge experience, the sound and energy of the festival. The effort is to make a treat for the visually challenged,” Pookutty said.
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What PETA has to say?
Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Friday claimed that its investigation has claimed rampant cruelty to elephants during the festival.
Manilal Valliyate, the PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs and member of the Kerala State Animal Welfare Board said “Reducing these representatives of Lord Ganapati to slaves in chains, training and exhibiting them under the threat of ankuses and other weapons, exposing them to loud fireworks and drumming and a crowd of thousands they would find frightening is cruelty.”
“Today’s findings reinforce those of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in 2015 and 2016 that these elephants are abused. Abused animals cannot bless, they can only curse,” Valliyate further added.
PETA also said that some elephants were made to stand and walk on hot tar road with not shade and there was no access to drinking water.
In its April 18, 2015 order, the Supreme Court had stated that if any owner, organiser, or festival or temple coordination committee treated elephants cruelly, the offender would be held liable for contempt, PETA said.
PETA also mentioned the order given by the Kerala High Court on April 14, 2016 that “No elephant which is found unfit to participate in the ceremonial parade shall be utilised and the District Magistrate will ensure that use of any such animal is clearly excluded.”
History of Thrissur Pooram
Talking about ‘Thrissur’, it is known as the land of Poorams and ‘Thrissur Pooram’ is referred to as the festival of all festivals and is celebrated at the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple. Thrissur has two other well-known temples including Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu temples. Vadakkunnathan temple is believed to have been founded by Lord Parasurama.
The story behind the creation of Thrissur Pooram is an interesting one, but there is no denying that since it began in 1798, the festival has gone on to become a cultural spectacle that lasts for days.
With inputs from PTI.