Thrissur (Kerala): A team of veterinary doctors and forest officials have medically examined scores of elephants ahead of famed annual festival of ‘Thrissur Pooram’ in Kerala.

For the vets, it is a challenging exercise to check the elephants physically and issue a no objection certificate for their participation in the festival. Two teams of specialists were formed to conduct the required verification of each tusker and the shortlisiting of the fittest ones for the show.

Officials of the state animal husbandry and forest departments also examined mahouts’.

“Thrissur Pooram is approaching and a major portion is characterized by the parading of about 80 to 100 elephants at various events. There will be around a  million people watching this parade. The event is a custom-base thing of eight temples”, said Dr. Rajeev.

Stiff competition for elephants exists between the two wealthiest temples — Parmekavu and Thiruvambady.

The health checks lasted for around four hours. A micro chip was installed in each jumbo to conduct a detailed examination in order to avoid any untoward incident on the final day of Pooram procession, said a specialist.

Every year this process is followed while selecting the elephants for the famed Pooram festival.

As part of the festival, the caparisoned elephants, mainly male, pass through the streets of Thrissur before reaching Vadakkunnathan Temple, an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ten temples surrounding it also send their processions to worship Lord Shiva in the main temple.

Special festival programmes are being held in all participating temples till the last day.

Pooram festival is celebrated every year between late April and mid May, known as the month of Medam, in the Malayalam almanac.

King Sakthan Thampuran of the erstwhile Kochi kingdom of the state in the late 18th century is believed to have commenced the Pooram festival on a mass scale.

The festival is celebrated by people across all religions, caste and community.

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