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Thrissur Pooram-The Most Spectacular Temple Festival of Kerala

Updated on March 25, 2017

(THIS TIME THE FESTIVAL OF "THRISSUR POORAM" COMES ON THE 5th & 6th MAY, 2017, Friday & Saturday)


'Pooram' is a Malayalam word denoting the meaning grand festival. 'Thrissur Pooram' in Kerala is one of the most spectacular and popular temple festivals of this land. As its popularity and features are so stunning and vibrant, it can even be termed as 'The Pooram of all Poorams'.


This festival is celebrated every year in the Malayalam month of Medam. This may appear either in April or May. The permanent festival venue is at Vadakkumnathan Temple in the center of Thrissur city. Thrissur is the 'Cultural Capital' of Kerala. This is one of the 14 districts of Kerala and geographically situates almost the middle of the state. Ernakulam, Malappuram and Palakkad are the neighboring districts.

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The elephant assembly  (Ezhunnallippu)Decorative Umbrellas (for elephants) used for 'Kudamattom'The crowd assembled to watch the Pooram festWhat a splendid view of the temple, where Pooram heldThese are people gathered to watch this fantastic fest.  How can we count them?
The elephant assembly  (Ezhunnallippu)
The elephant assembly (Ezhunnallippu) | Source
Decorative Umbrellas (for elephants) used for 'Kudamattom'
Decorative Umbrellas (for elephants) used for 'Kudamattom'
The crowd assembled to watch the Pooram fest
The crowd assembled to watch the Pooram fest
What a splendid view of the temple, where Pooram held
What a splendid view of the temple, where Pooram held
These are people gathered to watch this fantastic fest.  How can we count them?
These are people gathered to watch this fantastic fest. How can we count them?

Eight temples (apart from the major ones- Paramekkavu andThiruvambadi) in and around Thrissur town take part in the festival. The performance of the celebrated percussionists in the state is one of the most sought after events of this festival. The grand show of the percussionists is a wonderful display of sound and rhythm. They are teamed up in two fractions- Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi. The people of Thrissur forget everything once the 'melam' begins. They sing and dance with the incredible symphony being orchestrated by the highly professional percussionists.


The Myth and History


It is believed that the dynastic god and goddesses of neighboring temples meet together, every year for a day of celebration. The Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu Devaswoms are the major temple authorities to make the festival and celebrations the most remarkable one.


To talk on history about the Pooram, Thrissur Pooram started about two hundred years ago. It was on the special interest and guidance of the then ruler of Kochi, Sakthan Thampuran or Raja Rama Varma in the year 1798. He was a king known for his good administration. He decided to break tradition and started to celebrate the pooram festival inviting the temples belonging to his region. Till then there were some problems brewing between various groups running the nearby temples. Sakthan Thampuran united some ten temples situated around Vadakkumnathan temple and organized a mass festival which came be known as Thrissur Pooram.


The temples were grouped into two- The Western and the Eastern. The Western group as 'Thiruvambady' consisting of Kannimangalam, Laloor, Ayyanthole, Nethilakkavu and the Thiruvambadi temple as the main one. The other group known as Eastern group was termed 'Paramekkavu' consisting of Karamukku, Chembukavu, Choorakotukavu and Panamamakkampilly and the Paramekkavu temple as the head.


The venue was fixed at the center around the Vadakkumnathan temple (exactly at Thekkinkkadu Maidan or ground). All the above temples would send their pooram (the complete procession) to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity. The full credit for chalking our the programs and the connected events of the Thrissur Pooram festival thus go to Shakthan Thampuran.

Fabulous Features of the Festival


This being the 'pooram of poorams', justifiably attracts a large crowd. The Pooram starts with the Kannimangalam Sasthavu Ezhunnallippu (procession) in the early morning, followed by Ezhunnallippu of other six temples. People from across the state come all the way to Thrissur to witness this mammoth festival. Both domestic and international tourists make it sure not to miss the event if they are in Kerala during the festival season (April/May). In fact no one, especially the one who has witnessed the festival at least once, wishes to skip this most magnificent cultural extravaganza of Kerala.


The festival lasts for 36 hours offering a wide variety of visual treats to the visitors. I brief here some of the most notable features as given below:


  • Madathil Varavu

'Madathil varavu' is one of the major attractive events of the festival. It is a 'panchavadya melam' participating more than 20 artists. The 'melam' or orchestra is performed using 'Thimila', 'Madhalam', Trumpet, Cymbal and 'Edakka'. (These are different types of instruments and their Malayalam names).

  • Ilanhithara (Elanjithara) Melam

The famous 'Ilanhithara melam' starts at 2 0' clock inside the Vadakkumnathan temple. If you love 'melam', please do come here. The fest gives you a golden chance to enjoy the thrilling performance of the 'melam' maestros.


  • Exhibition (Anachamya Pradharshanam)

There is a grand exhibition known as 'Ana Chamaya Pradharshanam' to exhibit the colourful and glittering elephant decorations. Don't miss it as it showcases such a wonderful craftsmanship of seasoned artists.


  • Kudamattom

This is a rare kind of display and the major attraction of the Pooram. Here, at the end of Pooram, both Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi groups enter the temple through the western gate and come out through the southern gate. They array themselves, face to face at distant places. Then the two groups exchange colorful and crafted umbrellas with a competitive mind at the top of the elephants. The 'melam' will be at its full swing during the process. Besides 'melam' you can enjoy the beauty of the elephants paraded wearing colorful ornaments and decorations like 'Alavattom', 'Venchamaram', decorative bells and 'Muthukkuda' (decorated umbrellas). 'Kudamattom' is a fantastic experience. You are totally engrossed and forget time while watching. Please observe the video of 'Kudamattom' I appended on the right side of this text.


Video of Thrissur Pooram Fireworks (Vedikkettu)

  • Fireworks

During the festival night all roads lead to Thrissur Thekkinkadu maidan. All are in a hurry mission not to to miss the most spectacular and colorful fireworks. It is a display of sound and light produced by a superb array of crackers and sparklers. The charming fireworks will last for hours offering the spectators an unforgettable experience. It has to be enjoyed. It has to be experienced. You can skip any events related to the Pooram but not the fireworks. It is great, no, the greatest Pooram experience.


The cultural fest called 'Thrissur Pooram' is a wonderful display of sound, light, elephants and a never ending passion of festivity. Missing the fest means you lose a grand exhibition Kerala offers to the world. If still doubtful, listen what UNESCO has certified the Pooram: Thrissur Pooram is the most spectacular festival event on the planet.

Wherever you are on the planet please go for the show at least once in your lifetime. The only advice I wish to give you is do not forget to carry your camera and a tiny scribbling pad when you start. This will surely help to capture some amazing snaps and record the fascinating festival features on the spot.

Have you ever witnessed the famous Thrissur Pooram?

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© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth

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    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Arti

      So thrilled on finding your comments, which is fantastic as well, here. Sure, Thrissur Pooram is one of the best celebrated festivals in South India and more so in Kerala and people fond of such nice things should definitely watch it. If you are so interested, I shall make necessary arrangements. My friends in Thrissur are pressing me to reach there for the festival this time. If interested, pls let me know. It falls next month. Anyhow thank you so much for stopping by and leaving some fascinating comments.

    • profile image

      Arti @ My Yatra Diary 3 years ago

      Such vivid colors from a festival so fascinating, truly enchanting. I cannot even begin to imagine the sensory rush of emotions and feeling of all the people assembled there. Thank you so much for capturing the event and bringing it here live for all of us. I wish to attend this 'Poorum of the Poorums' one day.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
      Author

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi georgescifo

      Thanks for your visit and comments. I too hope you will be here for the next Pooram. Keep watching for more.

    • georgescifo profile image

      georgescifo 4 years ago from India

      The Thrissur Pooram is one of the most fantastic event in Kerala, which I am yet to experience. Hope that I will be there for the next pooram.

      Thanks for this wonderful Hub, Sunil!!

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
      Author

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi Bennysebastian

      Thanks for your comments. Glad to know you enjoyed this hub.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
      Author

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      @bronwnella

      Thanks for stopping by leaving comments. Sure, you must have a visit to explore this wonderful land. We heartily welcome you to the Incredible India!. Glad to note my hub gave you pleasure.

    • brownella profile image

      brownella 4 years ago from New England

      Interesting hub, I have been reading a lot of great hubs about India lately, it's making me think I should plan a trip. Thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image

      bennysebastian 4 years ago

      it was a nice write up on our Pooram Festival. Being a native of Trichur, Pooram is our treasure, pleasure and we are very proud of it. People from all walks of life in Trichur participate in the festivities and co-operates wholeheartedly for the smooth conducting of the festival. It is virtually a treat for eye and ear. Kudamattom is the finest of the many activities that attract people. Thank u Sunil ....

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      @Vellur

      Thanks for your visit and encouraging comments. Your voting up also appreciated.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub and description of this wonderful festival in Kerala. Informative and interesting. Voted up.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      @srsddn

      Happy to note your comments and Malayalam experience. You are right that Kerala has some wonderful festivals and good presence of elephants. Thanks for your visit, comments and voting up.

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 4 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      sunilkunnoth2012, Kerala's festival seem to be quite spectacular. The elephants are decorated tastefully. The people in Kerala take keen interest in celebration of these festivals. As a student about 4 decades back I learnt a bit of Malyalam from an Institute at Mussorrie. It was quite interesting to know different pronunciations of the letter 'L'. Thanks for sharing the Thrissur Pooram festival. Voted up and shared.