• Short Summary

    THERE'S A STRONG ELEMENT OF THE MIRACULOUS ABOUT THE ELEPHANT RACES OF GURUVAYUR, IN THE INDIAN STATE OF KERALA: MIRACULOUS THAT NO SPECTATORS HAVE BEEN REPORTED KILLED OR INJURED IN THE 500-YEAR HISTORY OF THESE ANNUAL RACES.

  • Description

    THERE'S A STRONG ELEMENT OF THE MIRACULOUS ABOUT THE ELEPHANT RACES OF GURUVAYUR, IN THE INDIAN STATE OF KERALA: MIRACULOUS THAT NO SPECTATORS HAVE BEEN REPORTED KILLED OR INJURED IN THE 500-YEAR HISTORY OF THESE ANNUAL RACES. SOME SAY IT'S DUE TO THE RELIGIOUS NATURE OF THE RACES - AND PROOF OF DIVINE INTERVENTION.

    THE ELEPHANTS WHO TAKE PART IN THE RACES, KNOWN AS ANAYOTTAM, ARE OWNED BY A LOCAL TEMPLE. DONATED BY RICH DEVOTEES, THERE ARE NOW MORE THAN 20 ELEPHANTS AT THE TEMPLE, THOUGH IN YEARS PAST THE TEMPLE HAS OWNED MANY MORE. DURING GURUVAYUR'S ANNUAL RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL, THE ELEPHANTS TAKE PART IN THE PROCESSION AND ONE OF THEM CARRIES THE EFFIGY OF THE FESTIVAL'S DEITY ON ITS BACK.

    THE RACE IS HELD BEFORE THE PROCESSION TO DECIDE WHICH ELEPHANT CARRIES THE DEITY - THE HONOUR GOING TO THE WINNER. LOCAL SAYS THAT THE ELEPHANTS - BEING LIKE ALL ELEPHANTS JUST AS WISE AS MEN - KNOW WHAT THEY'RE RACING FOR AND TRY HARD TO WIN. HOWEVER, THE FACTS ARE THAT ELEPHANTS DISLIKE SUSTAINED RUNNING AND HAVE TO BE URGED ALONG BY THEIR RIDERS AND CROWDS OF BOYS RUNNING BEHIND, ALONGSIDE AND IN FRONT.

    AND THIS IS WHERE THE DANGER COMES IN. ONE FALSE STEP, AND SOMEONE WOULD BE FLATTENED. THE RACE IS THROUGH THE TOWN OF GURUVAYUR OVER ABOUT A FURLONG AND THROUGH STREETS QUITE NARROW AT TIMES. FOR ABOUT THREE MINUTES ALL IS UTTER CHAOS AND CONFUSION AS THE HUGE CROWD JOINS IN THE RACE, URGING ON ITS FAVOURITES. THE WINNER OF THIS YEAR'S RACE WAS RAMANKUTTY, A 10-YEAR-OLD WITH EIGHT-FOOT TUSKS.

    AFTER THE RACE, RAMANKUTTY WAS GIVEN A HOLY BATH AT THE TEMPLE WELL. HE'LL LEAD THE OTHER ELEPHANTS IN FESTIVAL PROCESSIONS FOR THE NEXT 10 DAYS, CARRYING THE DEITY ON HIS BACK AS THE RACE WINNERS HAVE BEEN DOING FOR THE PAST 500 YEARS.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA7OWU3KGRODXE0S68N4VFJLPXU
    Media URN:
    VLVA7OWU3KGRODXE0S68N4VFJLPXU
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    11/03/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:31:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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