Watching Elephants & Revelry at THRISSUR POORAM

This spectacular festival from Kerala is also the state’s biggest and most colourful celebrated with an excellent show of caparisoned elephants, astonishing parasols, and percussion music…

WORDS BY- SANGEETA S

THRISSUR Pooram is a Hindu festival held every year in the Southern Indian state of Kerala at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur. Started by Sakthan Thampuran, the erstwhile ruler of Kochi, this festival is almost 200 years old and still going strong. Thrissur Pooram is held on the Pooram day that is the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam.

The main attraction of the festival is the presentation of elephants. Two groups representing the geographic divisions of Paramekkavu Bhagavati Temple and

Thriuvambadi Srikrishna Temple compete with each other as they present richly caparisoned elephants. Each group comprises of five temples each, so altogether 10 temples send their pooram (complete procession) accompanied by elephants carrying deities.
Caparisoned elephants, dazzling parasols, and percussion music are the main highlights of this festival. One can experience the merging of spiritual and cultural essence of Kerala. Dazzling fireworks in the early morning hours add to the glory of the festival.

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During this festival it seems as if the whole of Kerala has come to life. Enthusiastic crowd with decorated streets gives the state vibrant and colourful look. The traditions and rituals are unique and are followed religiously by the people of Kerela. You need to experience this to appreciate the beauty of this festival.

The vibrantly decked up elephants and the Kudamattom ceremony is spectacular event and worth watching. People sitting on top of elephants display colorful umbrellas. Kudamattom ceremony involves swift and rhythmic changing of brightly coloured and sequined parasols which is very keenly watched. The ornamental umbrellas atop the elephants standing face to face are exchanged which people love to watch. Beautiful designs and colourful umbrellas can be seen when both the sides try to display better umbrellas while competing.

The temples parade about 100 captive elephants owned by individuals and religious institutions. The next highlight of the festival is the ilanjithara melam, a performance of traditional instruments which lifts the thousands gathered to a state of euphoria and bliss. The performance happens in front of Ilanji tree where thousands gather to enjoy. The traditional orchestra led by around 250 chenda artistes takes the crowd to frenzy. The spirit of spectators who wave their hands in accordance with the rhythm is amazing. The traditional instruments used are chenda, kurumkuzhal, kombu and elathalam. One needs to experience how the sudden change in the pace of drumbeats from more than dozens drums resonate the whole atmosphere.