Use of tamed wild animals in religious rituals
The Koodal Manikyam temple in Irinjalkuda, Thrissur, is the only temple in India dedicated to lord Rama’s brother, prince Bharata. Every year an utsava is held, in which the idol of bharata is honoured with elaborate rituals some of which involve the idol being paraded on elephants around town.
Elephants, the largest mammals on earth, being used as transport for the gods are nothing new in India and the tradition continues unabated in Kerala notwithstanding the fact that numerous instances of elephants running amok and killing people have occurred.
I happened to visit irinjalkuda for this years utsava at the insistence of family and attended the rituals held in the temple compound on the last day. This ritual involved taking the idol to his ritual bath to a nearby tank on the back of an elephant. The idol is regarded as being the maharaja of irinjalkuda and most amusingly the idol received a guard of honour, or an affirmation of loyalty to his royal highness prince bharata, from a posse of policemen stationed at the temple.
And most unfortunately just as the procession was about to start, one of the males, who was known to run amok earlier, Cherplassery Kannan, broke loose and attacked the crowd. The elephants in violation of established rules were stationed close to each other and there was no barricade between the animals and the crowd and the huge crowd was assembled in a comparatively small courtyard.
The frenzied and panicked crowd rushing blindly to safety trampled to death one small boy and severely injured his mother. I managed to escape with a sprained big toe and injuries to my soles due to broken glass lying around. My first experience of being trapped in a frenzied stampeding crowd and fearing for the safety of family will remain for a long time. My family considers it to be the grace of Lord Bharata that we escaped with no major injury.
The video of the incident was recorded by a newspaper cameraman, standing just before us and who later posted it on youtube .

Two hours later the ritual was carried out with cherplassery Kannan being replaced with another elephant.
unfortunatly this kind of crap happens everywhere.

But what the hell was this moron thinking?
Quote:"I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman."
Homer Simpson

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