The Thrissur Pooram is the most famous of all Pooram festivals and has been celebrated for over two centuries now. The festival entails spectacular procession of caparisoned elephants and enthralling percussion performances in a continuity of 36 hours beginning at 6 am and stretching up to 12 noon the next day. The festival is undoubtedly a rare treat both for the eyes and the ears.
Unlike most other temple festivals, Thrissur Pooram is participated and conducted by people across all barriers of religion and caste.
Time of the Thrissur Pooram
The Thrissur Pooram is celebrated in the month of Medom according to Malayalam calendar. This falls on April-May months.
Description of Thrissur Pooram
Adhering to the medieval Peruvanam or Pooram tradition, the festival is confined to the temples of Devi (goddess) and Sastha (divine combination of Shiva and Vishnu) and ten other deities from the neighboring temples pay obeisance to the presiding deity of Thrissur. The only spectator of the Pooram events is Lord Siva at the Sree Vadakkunnathan temple, situated in the heart of the town. Apart from Him the principle divine participants are Paramekkavu and Tiruvambadi, close to the Vadakunnathan temple.
Also participating and known as ‘Cherupooram’ are the suburban temples at Kanimangalam, Karamukku, Choorakkattukara, Laloor, Ayyanthole, Neithilakkavu and Chembukkavu, Panamukkampilly, which takes the number of deities to 8. The sprawling Thekkinkadi maidan, encircling the Vadakumnathan temple, is the main venue of the festival.
This festival was introduced by Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of the erstwhile Cochin State in the late eighteenth century and is now the most famous festival in Kerala with the largest fan following from all parts of the country.
The Pooram Festival is celebrated by two rival groups representing the two divisions of Thrissur Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi challenging and vowing to overshadow each other with a more magnificent display of fireworks. Each group is allowed to display a maximum of fifteen elephants. The parties keep no stone unturned to secure the best elephants in South India and the most artistic parasols, to adorn the elephants. The celebrations begin early in the morning and last till the break of dawn, the next day.
The procession of Thiruvambadi Pooram to the grounds of Vadakkumnatha Temple and back is not only important, but also quite enlivening with the marvelous and enchanting effect of the Panchavadyam, a combination of five percussion and wind instruments is to be felt and enjoyed.
Apart from the great elephant march and percussion and musical performance, the pooram festival is also well known for the magnificent display of fireworks. Fire works start in the early hours and the dazzling display last three to four hours.