Thursday, April 03, 2014

Catching the elephant’s tail ritual attracts big crowd

Several hundred people gathered at the Umayanallur Sree Bala Subrahmanya Swamy Temple in Kollam, Kerala, south India on Tuesday to take part in the annual aanavaal pidi (catching the elephant’s tail) ritual.

Devotees take part in the ritual with utmost devotion by running after a tusker, trying to catch its tail. The elephant races, with its tail raised, for about 100 metres. Many of its pursuers manage to get hold of the tail. Those participating in the ritual say they attain some kind of spiritual bliss.

Temple authorities say the ritual has been in place for the past 1,500 years. It commemorates the childish pranks of Lord Subramania in chasing his brother Lord Ganesha to pull him back by his tail. Lord Ganesha and Lord Subramania are the children of Lord Siva and Parvathy. This year, tusker Kadavur Sivaraju was selected for the ritual.

YouTube link.

At 10am the elephant was prepared for the ceremony by having a bath. The tusker was then brought in procession to the aanaakottil (kraal) and fed ‘nivedyam’ (devotional offering). It kneeled before the presiding deity, trumpeted and then began the ritual run. The ritual starts with the elephant running for a distance of nearly 60 metres before the devotees who have undergone a strict fasting regime chase after the elephant and try to catch a hold of the elephant by its tail.


Ratz said...

The ritual of being shat on and kicked by an elephant you say?

arbroath said...

Heh heh, that as well!

Shak said...

If touching the tail causes them rapture then they'd probably orgasm if it shat on them, Ratz.