Thrissur: The first time Thechikottukavu Ramachandran beheld the idol of Neythalakkavilamma and came to open the southern door of the temple, there were several threats. Five years later, issues related to Ramachandran’s ban is affecting the entire Thrissur Pooram.
It was in 2014 that Ramachandran came for descending the southern gate. The first ban came from the authorities after claiming that he might hurt the rest of the elephants. That ban was lifted after political pressure. His fans increased after he began appearing for the Thrissur Pooram. The increase in the people gathering for viewing the opening the southern gates can be seen as an aftereffect of Ramchandran, thus becoming an emotion of people of Thrissur.
Thechikottukavu Ramachandran is the tallest elephant living in Kerala, with 317 cms. With his broad forehead, strong legs, a walking style that resonates the notion of what ‘aanachandam’ is, Ramachandran differs from other elephants. Wherever he goes, his fans gather around. But along with these, other opinions also arose. Some people had taken the stance that an elephant blind in one eye should not be allowed to conduct procession on behalf of the temple. When Ramachandran came for the Kottapadi Chombalakkulangara temple festival last February, he caused the death of 2 people, which was followed by a ban. The committee formed over incidents caused while elephants are in musth by the forest department took a favourable stance towards Ramachandran. But the Chief Wildlife Warden had a different opinion and sent a detailed letter to the collector. Ramachandran’s ban has put the entire Thrissur Pooram in a difficult position in the last minute.