The elephant is one of the most admired animals in South India, particularly in Kerala where you cannot expect any religious carnival without elephant. The Adoor Gajamela is one such festival, which is celebrated every year in Kerala with great enthusiasm. As the name suggests, ‘Gaja’ is a Sanskrit word, which signifies elephant and the word ‘mela’ on the other hand indicates a fair. Thus, this is a festival of elephants.
The Adoor Gajamela is basically a pageant of elephants that takes place on the tenth day of the annual celebration at Parthasarathy Temple in Adoor, Kerala. Ample of visitors flock Parthasarathy Temple premises to witness this spectacular elephant pageant where nine majestic elephants are embellished before the parade. This year, the great festival of elephants is going to unveil its imperial appearance on 6th February. However, it is to be noted that the festival dates in Kerala are decided based upon the Malayalam calendar and their local customs. Hence, sometimes the exact date of festival differs to some extent.
As already mentioned, this fabulous event is a part of ten day annual celebration at Parthasarathy in Adoor. Parthasarathy is one of the prestigious temples in Kerala, which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. As the name suggests, the temple was named after Lord Krishna who was also known as Parthasarathy during the epic war of Kurukshetra. The hallmark of this regal carnival is nine mighty caparisoned elephants that take part into a 3Kms pageant from the temple of Parthasarathy to Chennapatti temple. Each elephant has a rider on them holding an umbrella.
Before initiating the pageant, nine giant elephants are bedecked with dazzling ornaments followed by the conventional ethnic art forms like Panchavadyam and Ottanthullal. With a blend of traditional touch and racial art forms, the entire ambience at the temple premises takes the spectators to a different height of festivity. Apart from the local inhabitants, various tourists also visit this place to witness this amazing Gajamela in Adoor.
Located adjacent to the backwaters of Alleppey, visiting Parthasarathy Temple during Gajamela is an amazing experience to grab. After exploring the spectacular elephant procession, you can try roving around some other adjoining locations of Adoor. Here come few interesting sites in Adoor that you can visit:
Situated around 10Kms away from Adoor, Pandalam Palace is the royal residence of Pandalam family. Pandalams are considered as the ancestry of the Pandya Kings. Over the periods of time, most of the parts of the Palace got affected by flood and fire. However, visitors still flock this place to witness two palace complexes such as Valiyakoikkal Temple and Kaipuzha Temple. Every year the festival of Makaravilakku is celebrated in this region with great interest.
#Pandalam Mahadeva Temple
Adoor has various temples to explore. Nestled on the bank of river Achenkovil, Mahadeva temple in Pandalam is reckoned amongst the 108 temples of Lord Shiva, which was setup by a monk called Sanayasin Khara. The significant part of this temple is the water of the River Achenkovil that flows through the feet of the holy shrine. This represents the free-flowing water of the Ganga, which flows from the Jata of Lord Shiva. Apart from the idol of deity Shiva, you will also come across various idols of Lord Ayyappa, Ganesha, Nagaraja and Subramanian in this temple. Pandalam Mahadeva is quite popular amongst the local inhabitants because of its natural procession route.
# Pattupurakkal Devi Temple
This is one more addition to the holy site of Adoor. Positioned in the environs of Pandalam Valiya Koickal Temple, it is assumed that the Goddess of Pattupurakkal Devi Temple was conferred with 64Kalas, which was famed as Santhaswarupini. Here, you can also come to see a 250 meters high Kanikka Mandapam, which was built dedicating the Goddess Parvati. If you plunge into the history of this shrine, it had a close connectivity with the Manikantan Thara and Pandya King.
Located around 10Kms away from Adoor, Anandapally is a tiny hamlet, which is popular for the festival of Anandappally Maramady. This is a post harvesting carnival, which is celebrated in this village with great enthusiasm. During the festival, visitors gather Anandapally to witness the amazing bull race amidst the barren paddy land. The race stars at afternoon and culminates at sunset. Before the event, the local villagers train their bulls. After exploring various temples, visiting Anandapally is altogether a different experience.
#St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral
Situated merely 15Kms reach from the town of Adoor, St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral is a popular church in Thumpamon village. This church is famed as the worship center of Nazarene Christians, who settled in this province many centuries back. It is believed that the church was built around 717AD, which is quite long. People also call St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral as Thumpamon Valiyapally. Accordingly to the inhabitants of Thumpamon, this church was titled as ‘The Little Jerusalem Church’ by Parumala Kochu Thirumeni after returning from Jerusalem.
Apart from the above cited locations in Adoor, you can also go for further expedition to the places like Puthenkavil Bhagavathy Temple, St. George Orthodox Church, Sree Dharma Sastha Temple etc.
With an expanse of 20.42km square areas near Pandalam, reaching Adoor is quite convenient. The nearest city to this place is Thiruvananthapuram, which is well-connected to many other major cities of India. Visitors can reach Adoor by any of the following modes of transport:
By Air: The nearest airport to Adoor is Trivandrum Airport, which is located around 95Kms from the destination. One more airport near Adoor is Cochin International Airport, which is situated around 140Kms from the city. From airport you can hire cab or taxi to travel further.
By Train: Located around 92Kms away from Adoor, the nearest railway head is Trivandrum Railway Station. This railway station is in good touch with different cities of Kerala as well as other cities of India. Ernakulam Junction is another nearby railway station within around 125Kms reach from Adoor.
By Road: The roadway connectivity between Adoor and other adjoining cities like Cochin, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram is quite convenient. From these places regular buses are there to reach Adoor. If you board a bus from Thiruvananthapuram, it will take around two and half hours time to reach Adoor. Various types of buses (AC, Non-AC, Deluxe etc.) are available from Thiruvananthapuram. Depending on the type of bus you board, the fare may start from INR 160 and more. From Ernakulam, the distance is around 130Kms, which can be travelled in three and half hours time, and the bus fare is around INR 250. In addition, one can also hire a cab from the above mentioned places.
Places to Stay:
Adoor is quite a busy town during Gajamela. At this time, visitors travel from various parts of the country to witness this magnificent event. In addition, this little town in Kerala is also visited by several tourists throughout the year. Therefore, from time-to-time many budget and luxurious hotels are also established in and around Adoor. By spending INR 1500 to INR 3000 one can get a decent accommodation in Adoor. However, depending on the locality and amenities that one avails, the charges may go higher as well.
The following are few good staying options listed for your convenience:
#Wyte Portico Hotel
Address: High School Jn, Karuvatta Pathanamthitta,
Adoor, Kerala 691523
#Hotel Midhuna International
Address: Enathu, Kottarakara – Adoor Road, Pathanamthitta (Dist.),
Enathu, Kerala 691526
#Hotel New Indraprastha
Address: Near KSRTC Bus Stand, Pathanamthitta District,
Adoor, Kerala 691523
#Hotel Central Park
Address: Kayamkulam – Pathanapuram Rd,
Adoor, Kerala 691523
In addition, you will also find few quality resorts within 20-30Kms areas of Adoor.
So be a part of this magnificent elephant parade at Parthasarathy Temple on 6th February. While returning home, the regal Adoor Gajamela and the ethnic art forms will give you a long lasting memory to treasure.