A resplendent festival celebrated with a grand display of caparisoned elephants, dazzling parasols, and percussion music, the Thrissur Pooram is a magnificent spectacle merging the spiritual and cultural essence of Kerala. Celebrated in the Malayalam month of medam (April-May), the pooram is held at the Thekkinkadu Maidanam in Thrissur.
There is an interesting story behind Thrissur Pooram which is now being identified as the greatest cultural festival in the state.
The story behind Thrissur Pooram
The only major festival celebrated in God’s Own Country before the Thrissur Pooram celebration was the Arattupuzha festival, held ten kilometers to the south of Thrissur. It was a one day festival in which most Thrissur temples took part.
One day, due to the heavy rains, many couldn’t make it to the Arattapuzha festival on time. Because they arrived late, they weren’t allowed into the temple premises.
The embarrassed temple officials informed Raja Rama Varma also known as Sakthan Thampuran about what had happened. The Thampuran immediately planned another festival, more extravagant and more rewarding than the first to make up for the eviction.
This marked the beginning of the Thrissur Pooram festival!
The Thrissur Puram, starting with the Kodiyettam or flag hoisting ceremony, is a 7-days festival. This is followed, on the fourth day, by a sample firecrackers ceremony. Many colourful displays of firecrackers are the norm and the atmosphere is almost frenzied. Everybody prepares excitedly for the main day.
The main Pooram is on the star ‘Purva Phalguni’ in the Malayalam month of Medam. The Raja and the priests of the two other important local temples, the Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple and the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple, pay obeisance to Shiva, the presiding deity of the Vadakkunnathan Temple. To this day the priests of the other two temples and their processions stand opposite each other and celebrate Lord Shiva whose idol is placed in the center.
These two temples compete with and try to outwit each other in the procession. They bring fifteen elephants, each decorated to dazzle.The accoutrements are added with great attention to detail. This is not to be missed.
The spectators too catch the fever of the tournament-like ambience. Both sides alternately exchange colorful umbrellas and fans in perfect rhythm and every time this happens there are cheers from the onlookers. All this, while the nadaswarams and drums beat away, enhancing the effect of the spectacle.
On the seventh day there is again a fantastic display of firework at the Swaraj ground, a fitting finale to the almost electric revels of the preceding days.
Nearest railway station: Thrissur, about a kilometer away.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 58 km from Thrissur.