Aanayoottu is the feeding of elephants. It is an old religious temple festival held in the precincts of the Vadakkunnathan temple in city of Thrissur, located in Kerala. The Malayalam month of Karkkidakam (July or August in Georgian calender) for Keralites is also the month of rejuvenation. Based on the principles of Ayurveda, the people take several rejuvenation therapies during this month. Not just humans but their much loved animals like elephants can also enjoy the boons of Ayurveda during this time. This interesting festival in South Indian state of Kerala is celebrated every year with much pomp and glory.
Ocassion of Aanayoottu
Aanayoottu festival falls on the first day of the month of Karkkidakam, which coincides with the month of July.
Aanayoottu festival for Elephants
Aanayoottu festival involves a number of unadorned elephants that are positioned amidst a multitude of people for being worshipped and fed. A large number of people throng the temple to feed the elephants.
Every year of Aanayoottu, gaja pooja, is conducted. It is believed that offering pujas and delicious feed to the elephants is a way to satisfy Lord Ganesha, the God of wealth and of the fulfilment of wishes.
Aanayoottu in Vadakkunnathan Temple
The Vadakkunnathan temple, which is considered to be one of the oldest Shiva temples in southern India, has hosted the Aanayottoo event for the past few years.
Feeding to Elephants in Aanayoottu
The special feed of the elephants includes sugar-cane leaves, Coconut Palm, jaggery and the sweet mix of Ganapthi pooja prasadam. The feeding session begins with an offering by the chief priest of the temple usually to an elephant calf. The festival presently involves sixteen elephants; the number was previously higher (around fifty), but was reduced following under direction of the district administration. During the festival, the elephants are fed on rice, jaggery, ghee, pineapples, and other local produce.
Sacred Animals in Aanayoottu
The elephants are hailed as sacred animals. The elephants are an integral part of Kerala culture, and elephants are integral to all festivals, including the Aanayoottu. Many of the famous south Indian temples have a number of their own elephants; feeding these elephants is considered auspicious.
(Last Updated on : 18-05-2015)
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