As many as 60 elephants were treated to a sumptuous feast at the annual ‘anayoottu’ (feast for elephants) festival at the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur, on Monday.
The ceremony began in the morning with chief priest(Melshanthi) Kottampilly Narayanan Namboodiri feeding rice ball to ‘Chettuva Kannan’, the youngest elephant among the herd.
Thousands of elephant lovers thronged the temple to witness the ritual. The elephants, fresh from a holy bath, were aligned in a single row inside the barricades erected on the temple premises. First, they were offered rice mixed with jaggery, ghee, and turmeric powder. The pachyderms also got to feed on coconut, sugarcane, pineapple, corn, bananas and cucumber. About 500 kg of rice was prepared for feeding the jumbos.
Later,’Ashta Churnam’, a herbal digestive powder was given as instructed by Avanaparambu Maheswaran Namboothiripadu. A team of veterinarians oversaw the entire proceedings.
An ‘Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati Homam’ (to propitiate Lord Ganesha), was also performed by about 30 priests, under the supervision of Puliyannur Shankara Narayanan Namboothiripadu. 10,008 coconuts, 3,000 kg of jaggery, 1,500 kg of rice flakes, 750 kg of parched rice, 300 kg of ghee, 50 kg of honey, 100 kg of sesame and sugarcane were used for the ‘homam’.
The events were a part of the special religious ceremonies performed in the Malayalam month of ‘Karkkidakam’ (July 16-August 15).
The month is also called ‘Panja Masam’ (lean season), when monsoon unleashesits fury on the state. The ceremonies are intended to give devotees strength to overcome the pains of the season.
It is also believed that offering poojas and delicious food to the elephants propitiate Lord Ganesha.
The Sree Vadakkunatha Kshetra Kshema Samithy, which organised the event, had insured the event for `1 crore.
City police superintendent P Vijayan, Cochin Devaswom Board member K K Menon, IG S Gopinath and temple officials were among those present on the occasion.