Guruvayur Anayottam to be held tomorrow

An elephant takes part in the anayottam event. File Photo

Thrissur: The famous event Guruvayur Anayottam (elephant race) which marks the beginning of the 10-day-long Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple Festival will be held on Wednesday at 3 pm. Guruvayur devaswom authorities said that 10 elephants will be participating in the race, expected to be witnessed by hundreds of Sree Krishna devotees and festival enthusiasts. Of the 10 elephants, only three will be allowed to run and the remaining will be made to walk the distance from Manjulal from the race begins up to the eastern gate of the temple.

The number of elephants has been reduced due to safety reasons, Guruvayur Devaswom officials said after a meeting held to review the preparations for the festival. The authorities also decided to do away with the aanayoottu, regularly conducted to feed the elephants participating in the race, this time. “This time, we have decided to increase the security of the temple and safety of the devotees,” said a devaswom member, adding that an additional number of police personnel will be placed around the temple. From Manjulal, where the elephant race kick-starts, Devaswom will deploy a team of mahouts to the Eastern Nada to avoid any untoward incidents involving the tuskers.

The 10 elephants will be brought to the Manjulal by 2.30 pm. When the temple bell strikes 3 O'clock, the temple chief priest will hand over the bells to the mahouts of the elephants that are participating in the race. Once the mahouts adorn the bells on elephants, the Marar of the temple will blow the conch shell that marks the elephant race. The elephant that reaches the eastern gate of the temple first will be declared as the winner. The other elephants will not be allowed to enter the temple after the race. The winning elephant will have the privilege of carrying the ‘thidambu’ of the Guruvayoorappan during the festival and all the special occasions in the temple for a year.

Devaswom authorities confirmed that Guruvayur Gopikrishnan, a regular tusker in the anayottam will not participate this year, as he was injured recently when alighting from the truck. The kodiyettam of the festival will be performed at 8.30 pm on Wednesday. On Wednesday morning, the keezhshanthi will carry the golden thidambu of Lord Krishna and take three pradakshinam around the temple in remembrance of the old days when Guruvayur temple did not possess any elephant. No elephants are allowed near the temple till the anayottam preparations begin at 2.30 pm.

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