Thrissur Pooram is the most colourful temple festival of Kerala, south India. Thrissur Pooram attracts large masses of devotees and spectators from all parts of the State and even outside. Celebrated in Medom (April-May) it consists of processions of richly caparisoned elephants from various neighbouring temples to the Vadakumnathan temple, Thrissur. The most impressive processions are those from the Krishna temple at Thiruvambadi and the Devi temple at Paramekkavu which is quite a significant event for its devotees.
This festival was introduced by Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of the erstwhile Cochin State in the late eighteenth century. Perhaps, there is no other festival in Kerala that draws such an unbelievable number of people to a single event. However Vadakkunnathan is a mere spectator at this festival, lending its premises and grounds for the great event. The pooram festival is also well known for the magnificent display of fireworks. Fireworks start in the early hours and the dazzling display last three to four hours. The Pooram Festival is celebrated by two rival groups representing the two divisions of Thrissur Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi vying with each other in making the display of fireworks grander and more colourful. Each group is allowed to display a maximum of fifteen elephants and all efforts are made by each party to secure the best elephants in South India and the most artistic parasols, several kinds of which are raised on the elephants during the display. Commencing in the early hours of the morning, the celebrations last till the break of dawn, the next day.
The procession of the Thiruvambadi Pooram to the grounds of Vadakkumnatha temple and back is not only important, but also quite enlivening. The marvellous as well as magical effect of the Panchavadyam, a combination of five percussion and wind instruments is to be felt and enjoyed. Among the varieties of festivals celebrated in Kerala, Thrissur Pooram is the most thunderous, spectacular and dazzling. There are three temples participating in the event. It is an expression of popular fascination for sound and colour, and because of the pageantry, it appeals to all people. The images of the deities from all temples of the village are taken on elephants to the main temple. The climax of the festival is the exhibition of thirty elephants and the famous fireworks at 2.30 am local time.
Thrissur Pooram is a cultural highlight par excellence, celebrated in the Malayalam month Medam (April/May) pooram nakshatram. The two century old festival of spectacular procession of caparisoned elephants and enthralling percussion performances in a never ending succession is an 36 hours marathon event of incredible beauty, a feast for the eye and the ear, unfolding between
6 am to noon the other day. Different from the usual temple festival, Thrissur Pooram is participated and conducted by people across all barriers of religion and caste.
Before the advent of Thrissur Pooram, the largest temple festival during summer in Thrissur taluk was the one day festival held at Arattupuzha, 12 km south of the town. Temples in and around Thrissur were regular participants of this religious exercise until they were once denied entry by the responsible chief of the Peruvanam area of Cherpu, known for its Namboodiri supremacy. As an act of reprisal and also in a bid to assuage their wounded feelings, Raja Rama
Varma (1751-1805), also known as Sakthan Thampuran the ruler of the Cochin state invited all these temples to bring their deities to Thrissur where they could pay obeiance to Lord (Sri) Vadakunnathan, the deity of the Vadakkunnathan temple. Further he directed the main temples of Thrissur, Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu, to extend all help and support to these temples. It is this historical background that determines the course of the Pooram program and it is
specifically the ruler's antipathy to the Brahmin aristocracy to open Thrissur pooram for the common man.
Adhering to the medieval Peruvanam tradition, the festival is confined to the temples of Devi (goddess) and Sastha (divine combination of Shiva and Vishnu). Ten deities from the neighboring temples pay obeisance to the presiding deiety of Thrissur and only spectator of the Pooram events, Lord Siva at the Sree Vadakkunnathan temple, situated in the heart of the town. Principle 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, Chembukkavu and Panamukkampilly altogether 8 deities. The sprawling Thekkinkadu maidan, en circling the Vadakumnathan temple, is the main venue of the festival and usually known as Thrissur Swaraj round.
Guruvayur temple festival
The important religious festivals here are the Ashtami Rohini (Aug-Sept), the Sukla Paksha Ekadasi (Nov-Dec), the Vishu Kani (April-May), and the 10 days Utsavam (Feb-March). Of these the Edakasi draws the largest crowd.
The famous Bharani utsavam is conducted in Meenam (March-April) for eight days. Another important Festival of this in Kodungallur Thalapoli which falls on Dec-Jan every year Thousands of people witness these two festivals.
The Koodalmanickam temple is an ancient and historic one situated in Manavalassery village about 10 km from Irinjalakuda Railway station. Sri Bharatha is the deity of this temple. The festival is held annually for 11 days in Medom (April-May).
The festival is held in April-May every year. It is one of the most colourful carnivals of Kerala drawing thousands of people from different parts. Idols from 41 temples in the neighbourhood villages are brought at night in procession to this village on rows of gaily caparisoned elephants. It is probable that Arattupuzha was so called, because the deities, "Arat" in the waters of the Arattupuzha river.
Situated near Wadakkanchery the place called Machadu,Thiruvanikavu temple also known as Machattu Vela celebrated in February with great prestigious and splendor on the last day of the 5 day annual festival at Thiruvanikavu temple. Devotees bring richly decorated Poykuthiras (Horses) in ceremonial processions as offering to the deity.
The Catholic Syrian Church of Palayur is one of the seven churches founded by St.Thomas. The feast falls on July 15 and many pilgrims from different parts of India visit the church.
Cheraman Juma Masjid
The Cheraman Juma Masjid constructed in AD 629 is famous as the first mosque erected in India and also the second in the world where the Juma Prayers were started. People from far and near irrespective of caste and creed visit this holy place and pay their homage. Id ul pitr (Ramzan) and Idul-Asha (bakrid) are celebrated here on a grand scale.