The morning after Krishna’s triumphant return to Asramam Temple, feasts were prepared for arriving guests: thirty adorned elephants bringing good tidings from the panoply of gods that reside in the region’s numerous hindu temples. The raking sun lit the dust beneath each large plodding creature, roads congested with their attendant mahouts and drummers—tribes converging to pay their respects to Krishna for the Ezhunallippu ceremony.
As with every aspect of the Pooram festivities, each element was exquisitely ritualized. One at a time, the tuskers arrived at the temple gate to resplendent fanfare before ascending mammoth-sized steps into the courtyard. The entry pavilion was similarly scaled for the elephants to pay their respects to the idol of Lord Krishna, housed in his sanctum. One, two, three rounds around the temple, and the guests were then led to a paddock to rest before the feast.
Platters of sweet fruit and sugarcane were arranged on the temple steps as the invités were bathed and cooled under a large shower. The shields carrying the god-essence of each guest were arrayed in a pavilion near the shrine. Each elephant was then led to his respective place in an outward facing ring surrounding the large banyan tree and were offered a feast to the blare of horns and pulsing anticipation of the crowd.