Thrissur: A ‘super star’ passed away in Thrissur at 3 am on Sunday and inconsolable fans immediately rushed in from all parts of the district to pay their last respects. Others followed – they included three ministers belonging to Thrissur, political, cultural leaders and the general public. But there was a difference. Thiruvambady Sivasundar, the deceased, was not a man, woman or a child, but an elephant.
In Thrissur, the land of ‘poorams’, elephants are stars and among them, Sivasundar was the super star. Nobody in Thrissur was surprised by the long line of mourners.
Those belonging to other districts have heard of torture of elephants for parading them in festivals. But folks in Thrissur know that the tuskers belonging to various temples and individuals are leading a respectable life, receiving love from all around. Life has now changed for the better for the jumbos, and they enjoy many facilities. They do not walk long distances, but travel in lorry and get water to drink round the clock, to name a few.
Sivasundar was suffering from an ailment related to digestion for the last 65 days. He received good treatment, but succumbed to the disease, spreading grief all around the town.
Sivasundar’s distinguished profile
Among the various popular attractions of Thrissur ‘pooram’, the ‘kudamattom’ (display of parasols) is one of the most colourful. Before this display, the tuskers taking part in the event exit from the south gate of the temple one after the other. Nobody who has witnessed ‘pooram’ can ever forget this sight. Among the elephants passing through the gate, Sivasundar stood apart with his grace and simplicity in carrying the ‘thidambu’ (festival idol) of Thiruvambady.
Industrialist T A Sundar Menon, who had gifted him to the Thiruvambady temple, would lead Sivasundar during the event by his tusk. The spectators would be amazed seeing the closeness between them. Elephants usually do not allow anybody to hold their tusks and use their trunks to knock down somebody who tries to do that. But Sivasundar was different.
Menon had bought Sivasundar from Pookkodan Francis 15 years ago for Rs 28 lakh and presented him to the Thiruvambady temple. That was when Thiruvambady Chandrasekharan had died after carrying the ‘thidambu’ for 28 long years. So, Sivasankar was chosen for the task from the next ‘pooram’. Over the next 15 years, Sivasankar reached the ‘pooram’ venue with the idol. Now he too has left the scene and the residents of Thrissur will miss his mighty presence.
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