The Thrissur Pooram - Feast
for the Eyes and Ears
The Thrissur Pooram - Feast for
the Eyes and Ears
A temple festival beyond the imagination- the synchronised
beats of the chenda (the traditional drums), rows of bedecked
elephants, the breathtaking fireworks and thronging people all
caught up in the swell of the moment, the Thrissur Pooram in
Kerala never fails to enthral and remains a highlight for
tourist places in India.
Every year, at the rise of the moon with the pooram star or the
‘pooram’ day of the Malayalam calendar, the temple festival is
held at the Vadakkunathan Temple at Thrissur, in Kerala, South
India. The pooram is a point that is included in all
South India Tours.
History has it that the festival began in 1798 when neighbouring temples who
regularly participated in the Arattupuzha Temple were delayed due to
incessant rain one year. They were forbidden to participate that year and
were turned back. Incensed by the incident the temples took their grievance
to the Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin. He unified the 10
temples surrounding the Vadakkunathan Temple to pay obeisance along with
their deities to the presiding deity Shiva or Lord Vadakkunathan and created
the Thrissur pooram. He organised them into two groups, the Eastern Group
and the Western Group and chalked out the programs for each. The Eastern
Group is called the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple and the Eastern Group is
called the Paramekkavu Bhagavathi Temple.
The Pooram goes on for seven days at the Thekkinkadu Maidan in front of the
temple. It begins with the kodiyettam or flag hoisting on the first day. The
highlights of the festival are the fireworks or Vedikkettu, by both groups, in
vying with each other for variety and ingenuity.
The sample vedikkettu is held on the fourth day at the Swaraj
Round and begins at 7.15 pm. The final fireworks are held on
the final day at 3 am and goes on till dawn at 6am. Tourists
visiting India make this a must-do in their itinerary of
tourist places in South India.
There is a public display of the caparisons used on the pageant
of 30 elephants by both groups of devaswoms. There is stiff
competition between the devaswoms for gaiety, color and
innovation in the costumes as well. On display will be the
golden caparisons (nettipattom), the elephant accoutrements
(chamayam), ormamental fan made of peacock feathers
(alavattom), and the royal fan (venchamaram). Sacred bells
and decorative umbrellas (muthukuda) are also on display.
During the pooram the kudamattom or the synchronised
movements with these decorated parasols are a sight to
behold. Most Kerala tourism packages include this in their
tour packages or Kerala holiday plans.
The illanjithara melam or the percussion of more than two
hundred and fifty percussionists fill the air with their rhythm for
miles around. The drums are accompanied by other traditional
instruments like the kuzhal, kombu, and the elathalam, each
making a unique sound of its own. The chief percussionists are
always chosen from traditional families and hold their positions
for many years. Peruvanam Kuttan Marar heads the
Paramekavu side and Kizhakootu Aniyan Marar heads the
The Thrissur pooram is a must-do on the list of every
tourist visting kerala in the summer months. The Malayalam
months tend to change according to the calendar every year,
hence tourists have to check with local authorites for final
dates. Thrissur is located 58 kms from Cochin International
Airport and is also well connected by a railway station and bus
The Thrissur pooram is scheduled to be held on 9th May in 2014
and on 28th April, in 2015
The Thrissur Pooram is truly an immersive experience and a
must for South India Tours!