‘Anyottam’ or the elephant race is a unique ritual that marks the start of the annual festival at the famous Guruvayoor Temple in Thrissur District.
Winner elephant is Gopikannan.
Elephants are lined up at the Manjulal, a huge banyan tree about half a kilometer away from the temple by noon. Just before the race, the mahouts throw bells around the elephants. And at the auspicious moment, priests run out of the temple signifying the start of the race.
The elephants take off with the mahouts perched on the top, and there will be a couple of people who run with each of the elephants taking part in the race. The sounds of the ‘melam’ or the percussion instruments, normally gets replaced with the cheering and the clanging bells as the pachyderms race on. However, when the elephants reach near the temple, they are led single file inside the temple complex. The elephant who wins the race, will be the one which will carry the lord’s ‘thidambu’ or the idol during the last day of the ten day festival.
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