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Gaja Mela Indian festivals with a difference

Posted on December 28, 2011 | FestivalsNo Comment



India has a lot of affiliation and bonding with elephants. Not only is it a land of elephants but also has its own elephant God – Lord Ganesha who is revered as the lord of obstacles. Visit any South Indian temple and there is sure to be one elephant in the courtyard. Most of the images of gods brought out in procession today are brought in elephants. So the elephant has a vital and significant role to play in Indian culture, religion and trends.

Gaja Mela

Earlier in Kerala, most of the houses used to have an elephant and such families were considered to be very wealthy and rich. The keralites are a very dedicated and pious lot and observe elephant pageants on important days in the temple.

Paripally Gajamela is a great pageant that is held annually at the Kodimootil Sree Bhadrakaali temple in Paripally in Kerala. Gaja mela comes from the two words – “Gaja “and” Mela “Gaja meaning elephant and mela means fair. So Gaja Mela is one of those Indian festivals which is a fair for the elephants.

Gaja Mela Kerala

In this town of Paripally annually they hold a parade with more than 50 elephants and the entire scene looks resplendently wonderful. This parade is usually on the tenth day of this Indian festival. All the devotees dedicate this elegant animal to the Goddess Bhadrakali and pray for good success, prosperity and financial stability. This ritual is actually called a “nerch’ and it is a memorable sight to see all the caparisoned elephants well decked and decorated and coming in a line.

Then you have the other two festivals of Puram and Vela. During this time, the atmosphere is electric, and the entire area is filled with a brilliance that is unmistakable. All the mahouts sit on top of the colourful elephants and they look wonderful with their majestic animals in tow. The beautiful silk covering and decorations look charming and the whole atmosphere is electric. The elephants hold up the silk parasols which are called the muthukuda and there are the “venchamarams” which are the white tufts of decorations which are normal in such Indian festivals. Also there are the “aalavattoms” which are the fans made out of peacock feather. These look magnificent and extravagant as the temple orchestra beats and these decorations sway to the rhythm.

Gaja Mela Indian festivals

Normally there are five traditional Indian instruments that make up the musical orchestra of this pageant. These called the panchavadhyam form the main element of the entire programme. The kudamattam is a ritual where the parasols on top of the elephants are changed. There are innumerable cultural programmes that are held each night and the entire atmosphere is one that remains in our memories for ever.

This festival is celebrated normally in the months of February and March. In the year 2012, the festival is scheduled for the 4th of March.

Reaching Paripally is easy with the nearest rail head as Kollam which lies around 23 kms from this place. Thiruvananthapuram is the nearest airport and Paripally is around 54 km from this capital city.

Gaja Mela Kerala

Indian festivals have their own intriguing value and charming contributions which make the devotee and the tourist totally feel blessed. A visit to such Indian festivals surely is a great way of knowing about Indian culture and tradition. The Gaja mela is surely a great experience for all those who are religiously inclined.

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