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Parippally Gajamela - the elephantine festival

The word gajamela in Malayalam literally means an elephant-festival, and the Parippalli Gajamela in Kerala, South India, in which more than 50 elephants take part, is a sight to behold both for the local people and for the tourists.

This gajamela is part of the annual festival of the Kodimoottil Sree Bhagavathi Temple at Parippalli (parippally) in Kollam district.

The get-together of the elephants takes place on the last day of the ten-day festival. Other highlights of the last day procession are the long line of women, holding lit oil lamps in decorated platters, and the orchestra of percussion instruments. On the ninth day there is a ritual known as kuthiyottam when devotees pin metal rods to their body.