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Children near baby elephant at Vadakkumnathan temple, Thrissur

Elephants, an inevitable part of the cultural life of Kerala, never cease to amuse the natives as well as visitors. This video shows children having a nice time with a baby elephant on the day of Anayoottu festival at Vadakkumnatha temple in Thrissur (former Trichur) district.

This is an annual event held on the first day of the Malayalam month of Karkidakam (July-August).  The month of Karkidakam that falls during monsoon season is considered ideal for all kinds of rejuvenation therapies in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine.

As part of the ritual, elephants are given food comprising of rice mixed with molasses, ghee and turmeric powder. Coconut, sugarcane, cucumber, pineapple, and bananas are some other delicacies.

At the end of the meal, pachyderms are given Ashta Choornam, an Ayurvedic digestive powder. Anayoottu is regarded as the largest of its kind anywhere in the world.