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 Thiruvambadi side.
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 services.
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