Annanad temple festival- the pachyderms

The number of elephants that take part in a temple festival depends on that temple's resources and means. Thus while the Trissur Pooram draws nearly 40 elephants over a period of three days, Annanad's small Veluppilly temple has this year been able to afford seven elephants, real progress from the 5 seen last year.. The elephants travel from their homes on foot or by truck.
Each elephant has a distinct identity:
Mangalaamkunnu Ayyappan
Ithithaanam Guruvayoorappan
Thiruvaanikkaavu Raajagopaal
Kiran Naaraayanankutty
Unnippilly Kaalidasan
Madhurappuram Kannan
Pallathaamkulangara Gireesan

Of late, the elephants wear their names proudly around their neck (I can now identify Gireesan, once I see the nameplate when I chance upon him at another temple :) ). The pachyderms are dear in so many ways...their seemingly infinite patience, their majestic sounding names, their trained kneel-down obeisance to the diety...
The noble giants look extra-royal when they are readied for the ceremonies with shining headgear (nettippattam) and neckwear, that have been carefully and painstakingly polished for the special day.

To the biggest Aana goes the honour of carrying the deity throughout the festival.
To anyone, including my son (who crinkled his nose as we approached the holy parade from the rear - where 'relieving activity' was going on; the giants are excused), the magnificent array is a sight that gets etched well in the grey cells...
Here are more impressions of rhythmic movements of the Venchaamaram and the Aalavattam in sync with the percussion music.
Patience-personified Manikandan.

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