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Kerala: The Thrissur Pooram

Kerala: The Thrissur Pooram

The grand procession during Thrissur Pooram is an excuse good enough to visit Kerala

Latha Anantharaman
May 22 , 2017
01 Min Read

Poorams — as synonymous with the Kerala summer as the daily power-cuts — are inevitably hypnotic, and the Thrissur Pooram even more so. This is a festival that lasts almost 30 hours, has fireworks loud enough to burst your ear drums, and sees some good-natured competition between two temples eager to out do each other.

Celebrated in the month of Medam (April-May), the festival starts at 6am on the first day and continues till 11am the next day. Deities from various shrines are brought to the Vadakkunatha Temple in processions, and soon it’s time to make way for the grand procession from the main contestants, the Paramekavu and Thiruvambady temples. The highlight of the festival is the elephant line-up — 15 on each side. In each line, the tallest elephant stands in the middle with the temple idol on its back.

There are three men on each elephant and they sway whisks and peacock fans in coordinated patterns to the notes of panchavadyam (an ensemble performance of five wind and percussion instruments). They unfold coloured and sometimes multi-tiered parasols, the competitive designs of which are a closely guarded secret till the actual display. This is called the kudamattam or“changing of the parasols”. More festivities and fireworks follow in the evenings.

Take a leisurely look at the parasols and caparisons from the previous year’s pooram, which are displayed the day before the pooram at the Agrasala just to the right of the temple and at the CMS High School, north of the Round.


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