‘Anayottam’ marked the beginning of the 10-day festival at Sreekrishna Temple, Guruvayur, on Friday. Gopikannan of the Guruvayur Devaswom came first in the race for the eighth time. Elephant Chenthamarakshan bagged the second slot in the race in which 25 elephants participated. An expert committee chose the elephants for the race after fitness tests.
Hundreds of people thronged the streets to witness the race. The race was taken out from Manjulal to the Sreekrishna temple. Gopikannan, which reached first, took seven rounds around the temple and completed the ritual. Anayoottu (feast for elephants) was held for elephants after the race. Anayilla Seeveli (ceremonial parade without elephant) was held on Friday morning.
There will be various cultural programmes in all the 10 days during the festival. The cultural programmes will be started with the Kathakali performance of Kalamandalam Gopi on Friday. The festival will conclude on March 15 with Arattu ceremony.