One of the main attractions of Thrissur Pooram is the Kudamattam performed atop elephants .The caparisioned elephants standing in line for Kudamattam is a sight to behold and is arguably the festival's piece de resistance.

About 100 elephants - or 'gajarajas' as they are called - take part in the Pooram. However, not all of them are used in Kudamattam as only a select few make it. Two of biggest and tallest elephants in the group then get the chance to carry the 'thidampu' (deity) of the two groups.

Interestingly, there are a lot of rules and restrictions regarding the use of elephants for Pooram. A committee of elephant experts assist the Devaswoms in selecting the elephants for Pooram. Only local elephants are engaged, and unlike in other temple festivals in Kerala, elephants from Bihar, Assam etc are not used.

Only healthy male elephants, in the age group between 25 and 55, with a majestic look, long trunks, broad ears and upward bending tusks make the cut.

Thechikottukavu Ramachandran,Thrikkadavoor Sivaraju,Cherpulassery Rajasekharan,,Puthupally Kesavan,Guruvayoor Valia Kesavan, Pambadi Rajan, Chirakkal Kalidasan are some big names among Pooram lovers and sure shot crowd-pullers.  

There has also been a few controversies regarding the parading of elephants during Pooram. Several cases of elephants running amok have been reported in recent years. With the Pooram being an event where hundreds of elephants are paraded, concerns of the wildlife department are genuine. 

It may be noted that if all the guidelines are strictly followed, elephants cannot be used for Pooram. Certain steps - such as watering the roads where the processions take place, jute sacks soaked in water thrown on elephants to cool them, mandatory breaks during which elephants are fed watermelon, cucumber etc - are suggested as interim measures.