Thrissur: The ceremonial event heralding Thrissur Pooram was performed by star elephant Thechikottukavu Ramachandran on Sunday morning when it pushed open the southern gopuram (door) of Vadakkumnathan temple in the presence of thousands of fans.
The elephant, the second tallest in Asia, with a history of killing 13 people and three elephants since 1986, was allowed to perform the ceremony by the District Captive Elephants Monitoring Committee (DCEMC) after several rounds of talks between the Elephant Owners' Federation, the state government and the district administration.
The pachyderm was brought in a truck from Thechikottukavu temple near Peramangalam here and taken back in the vehicle after it opened the temple doors for the Pooram to be held on Monday.
The spacious ground in front of the southern gopuram was jampacked with people who came to witness the event.
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The elephant, which has the highest hiring charges in Kerala, was recently banned by the forest department from taking part in festivals after it killed two persons at a private festival at Kottapadi near Guruvayur in February.
After prolonged parleys, it was allowed to perform the ceremony for a short period. The elephant had been doing it for the past five years and had made it an attractive event associated with Pooram.
The fans of the elephant danced to the traditional percussion and cheered the animal as it raised its trunk to greet the crowd. With no vision in its right eye, it is very suspicious of its surroundings and could run amok at the slightest disturbance, according to an expert committee appointed by the forest department in March....