The Thrissur Pooram or better known as the “festival of festivals” is a grand celebration at the Vadakkunathan Temple in Thrissur. It is celebrated during Medom [April- May] month every year. It is considered as a gathering of Gods and Goddesses of temples in and around Thrissur. The idols of Gods and Goddesses make their way to the Vadakkunathan Temple on adorned elephants accompanied by Chenda Melam [Drum beats] and Pancha Vadyam [an orchestra of five instruments]. Ten Temples participate in this grand festival namely Thiruvambady Bhagavathi, Paramekkavu Bhagavathi, Laloor Bhagavathi, Choorakkattukavu Bhagavathi, Chembukkavu Bhagavathi, Panamukkumpally Sastha, Kanimangalam Sastha, Nethilakkavu Bhagavathi, Karamukku Bhagavathi, and Ayyanthole Bhagavathi.
History says the Thrissur Pooram is more than 200 years old. The Arattupuzha Pooram was the biggest festival in Kerala before. The temples which participate in the Thrissur Pooram were regular participants of the Arattupuzha Pooram.
Once when they got late for the Arattupuzha Pooram due to rain, the chief of Peruvanam Gramam insulted them and denied the entry. Then the temple representatives approached Sakthan Thampuran, the king of Kochi and expressed their feelings. It was then Sakthan Thampuran united all the ten temples in Thrissur and invited them to Thrissur Vadakkunathan Temple with their deities to pay obeisance to the Lord Vadakkunathan. He divided the ten temples into two sides, the Paramekkavu side and the Thiruvambady side.
The Pooram celebration commences with the flag hoisting ceremony seven days before the main Pooram. On the 4th day after the flag hoisting, there is a sample fireworks display which is known as the “sample vedikkettu”. Both Paramekavu side and Thiruvambady side display their new patterns of fireworks. Followed by the fireworks display, the caparisons to be used in the Pooram is shown. These caparisons are made separately by both Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi side.
The main Pooram commences with the “Kanimangalam Sastha” entrance through the Southern Gate at 7 am. Subsequently, Panamukkampilly Sasthavu, Chembookavu Karthiayani Devi, Karamukku Karthiyani Devi, Choorakkottukavu Durga Devi, Ayyanthole Karthiayani Devi, Naithalakavu Bhagavathi, Paramekkavu Bhagavathy and Thirvambady Bhagavathy also join the Pooram. After that, the Panchavadyam [orchestra of five instruments] starts which is performed by more than 200 artists. It consists of Thimila, Madhalam, Trumpet, Cymbal and Edakka.
More than 50 elephants adorned with nettipattam, kolam, decorative bells, ornaments and the umbrellas enhance the excitement of the Pooram and entertain the tens of thousands of spectators who gather around to get a glimpse of them. At 2 pm starts the most awaited “Ilinjithara melam” which is an awesome musical performance which includes drums, trumpets, pipe and cymbal.
During the melam the Paramekkavu side and the Thiruvambadi side exchange their well-crafted umbrellas and this exchange is known as Kudamaatom. It is one of the major attractions of the Thrissur Pooram.
The Pooram resumes with the main event, the firework display. The Paramekkave side and the Thiruvambadi side compete with each other with their innovative fireworks and provide a mind-blowing spectacle for the millions of spectators gathered at the temple and in front of TV sets. People from all over the country visit the temple to watch the brilliant pyrotechnics. The seventh and the last day of the Pooram is the Pakal Pooram. It marks the end of the festival when the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady Idols are taken back to the temple from the Swaraj ground and then the Pakal Vedikettu [fireworks] starts which concludes the Pooram.
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