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Curtains come down on Pooram festival

Curtains come down on Pooram festival

Thrissur: The curtains came down on the famed Pooram rituals this afternoon after the presiding deities from Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady Devi temples 'bid farewell' to Lord Vadkkumnathan, promising that they would meet him next year for Pooram.

A scintillating fireworks display in the wee hours Tuesday enthralled thousands of people who had gathered at Thekkinkadu ground in front of the Vadakkunnatha temple here.

The 36 hour long festivities ended with the processions of Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu temples on Tuesday morning.

There was unprecedented security this time in the backdrop of the Sri Lankan blasts, with around 3,500 police personnel deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the two centuries-old festival.

As part of the security drill, no carry bags were allowed and bomb and dog squads mannedthe festival area throughout.

People staying in lodges and hotels were kept under surveillance.

The festivities began on May 12 with Kerala's tallest elephant 'Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran' pushing open the southern entrance gate of the ancient temple for the "vilambaram" ritual after District collector T V Anupama gave the nod for its participation as it cleared a fitness test.

The pachyderm, which is partially blind in the right eye, is said to have killed 13 persons, besides two elephants over a period of time.

Since 2014, the elephant has been been performing the ritual and has a big fan following in the state.

However, after two persons were killed by the animal during a house warming celebrations in Guruvayur in February this year, the district administration had imposed a ban on its participation in festivals.

As doubts were raised about the elephant being allowed to take part in the pooram ritual, the elephant owners association had threatened not to provide any pachyderms for the festival.

The association later withdrew its threat and expressed willingness to provide elephants for the pooram.

After the Kerala High Court Friday refused to interfere in the matter, the state government sought legal opinion from Additional Advocate General Renjith Thampan.

The AAG advisedthe government that the elephant can be allowed to participate only  in the Pooram festival with certain restrictions.

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