The mother of festivals of Kerala embodies the spiritual and cultural essence of God’s own country – Kerala. Thrissur Pooram is a magnificent spectacle that one should see at least once. Thrissur is the city of occasion, and Pooram means the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star. It is celebrated in the Malayalam month of medam, i.e., around April and May. It is held at the Thekkinadu Maidanam in Thrissur. Ten temples participate in the festival. Devotees and spectators arrive from all over the world to see the dazzling parasols, a grand display of decorated elephants, and percussion music.
The celebrations start in the early morning, around 4 am, marked with the ceremonial entrance of Kanimangalam Sastha pooram through the southern gateway of the temple, known as gopuram. It is followed by the hoisting of the flag by the celebration committee. The flag is hoisted on a make-shift post made out of a fresh Arecanut tree. It is interesting because it is the pooram flag, the one representing the festival, whereas most temples have their own permanent flags.
The display of fireworks, parasols, and ornaments is also like a curtain-raiser of the event. What had started as the sample testing of the fireworks now attracts an enormous crowd. The two temples, Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi, arrange their belongings like ornaments in their stores, which are open for 36 hours for everyone to see. The melam starts with Chempada, which is the longest in duration.
Kudamattam Ceremony – All About Elephants
The main attraction of the festival is the beguiled lineup of vibrantly decked-up elephants and is marked by the kudamattam ceremony. It is also known as the exchange of decorated umbrellas. It is one of the keenly watched ceremonies with the swift and rhythmic changing of brightly colored parasols. The elephants are adorned with decorative golden headdresses, decorative ornaments, bells, and colorful umbrellas. Fifteen elephants compete with each other during the performance. The elephants and their handlers’ performances are enthralling to watch.
Ilanjithara Melam and Pooram Exhibition
In this, the visitors can watch the performance of traditional instruments- the best platform for the traditional music of Kerala. Trumpet, cymbal, drums, pipes, and other classic instruments are a part of it. It is performed by around 250 artisans together, led by Chenda artists. They create a fiesta of exotic and impeccable music. It is played inside the Vadakkunathan temple. The name, Ilanjitharam, is derived from the Ilanji tree under which it is performed. The percussion ensemble is led by a chief.
Another major attraction of the pooram is the exhibition that starts a month before. It is one of the colossal trade affairs in South India. The exposition involves the showcasing of pavilions and stalls of major industrial, commercial, and entertainment houses.
The whole program follows a strict schedule and a prescribed route. The celebrations are completed with a vast fireworks display. Known as Vedikkettu, it is must watch for anyone who is in the city at that time. Because of the competitive nature of the two temples, Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi, they burst many innovative and attractive fireworks. There are four major sets of fireworks in total – the sample fireworks before pooram starts, colorful sparklers in the evening, the impressive ones in the early morning hours, and final ones to mark the end. The displays are a treat to the eyes.
The 36 hours long, non-stop celebrations are maintained without any loss of energy – from the vibrant colors to exuberant music. What can be more exciting than this?