Thrissur Pooram

Religion: Hindu
Country: India
Upcoming Thrissur Pooram is on 23 April 2021 (Friday)

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Thrissur Pooram is one of the most spectacular festivals held in the state of Kerala. Thrissur pooram is known for its pageantry and magnitude and id considered to be the mother of all poorams. It is celebrated every year in Medam (April) month, as per Malayalam calendar.

The world renowned festival is held in the premises of the Vadakkumnatha temple located on a hillock in the heart of the city in Thrissur district of Kerala. The main participating temples are the Paramekkavu Bhagavathy temple and the Thiruvambadi Sree Krishna temple. The festival of festivals comprises 36 hours day and night carnival of colourful pageantries, parade of caparisoned elephants and an exuberant exhibition of Kerala's rich traditional art forms. Thousands of tourists from India and abroad are drawn in every year to enjoy the colourful celebration and ornately decorated elephants.

Thrissur Pooram History

Pooram was started two centuries back by the then ruler of Cochin, Sakthan Thampuran or Raja Rama Varma, in 1798. Before the start of Thrissur Pooram, the largest temple festival during summer in central Kerala was the one-day festival held at Aarattupuzha . Temples in and around Thrissur were regular participants of this religious exercise until they were once denied entry by the responsible chief of the Peruvanam area of Cherpu to uphold the supremacy of Namboodiri. So Prince Raja Varma, the architect of Thrissur, in order to assuage the wounded confidence of his subjects undertook the task of renovating Vadakunnathan temple. He invited other temples with their deities to Thrissur to pay obeisance to Lord Vakunnathan, the presiding deity of the Vadakunnathan temple.

How is Thrissur Pooram Celebrated?

Ten temples take part in this magnificent festival. But the principal participants are the ‘Bhagawathys’ or the deities from the Thiruvambadi and the Paramekkavu temples. These two temples vie with each other to present their best in all the events of the festival.

The main festivities go on for 36 hours and begin with the ezhunellippu of the Kanimangalam Shasta in the morning . The ezhunellippu programme is considered to be a ritual symbolizing the visit of the Devi from the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi temples to the Vadakkunnathan temple. The deities arrive at the Thekkinkadu ground in front of the Vadakkunnathan Temple, each accompanied by 15 gold caparisoned elephants to take blessings from the presiding deity, Lord Shiva. A major attraction of the festival is 'Panchavadyam' in which over 200 artistes from various disciplines like Thimila, Maddalam, Trumpet, Cymbal and Edakka showcase their talent and leave the audience spell bound. During noon another ritual is observed called, 'Pandemelam', in which artistes holding mastery of drum, trumpets, pipe and cymbal participate.

In the Pooram evening the entourages of the visiting deities divide themselves into two groups, the Paramekkavu group and Thiruvambadi group. The elephants and musicians representing the two temples face each other in front of the Vadakkumnathan Temple for the most spectacular event called the ‘kudamattam’.

While the traditional ‘melam’, an orchestra of percussion and wind instruments using the drums, cymbals, horn, pipe, led by a 300 member group, represented by each temple, reaches a crescendo, menfolk of Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady swiftly changing their brightly coloured and sequined parasols one after another in a competitive mood. Each change is accompanied by the thunderous applause of thousands of supporters who gather to witness this rare spectacle. The revelry continues till late in the evening.

The festival concludes with the dazzling display of fireworks. It lasts till 6' 0 clock in the morning. In keeping with the competitive spirit, both the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi, try to outdo each other by putting up a spectacular show of fireworks. The next day, both the temples arrange processions from the Vadakkunnathan Temple to their respective temples. and before the final procession another ritual called ‘Upacharam Cholli Piriyal’ is performed where the deities or the Bhagawathys bid farewell to each other and promise to meet the next year.

The most striking feature of the Thrissur Pooram is its very secular nature in which The Muslim and Christian Communities actively take part in the conduct of the festival.


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