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Poorams in Kerala
Thrissur is best known for its mammoth Pooram Festival, which is the most colourful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. The legends and myths behind each festival of Kerala are many, varied and equally interesting. Since the word pooram literally means a group or a meeting, it was believed that every year the dynastic gods and goddesses of neighbouring province met together for a day of celebration. This usually happened on the pooram asterism of one of the spring months.
Pooram is the festival of festivals. It is conducted at the great Vadakkunnatha temple of Thrissur. The Vadakkunnatha temple, which resembles a Japanese Shrine, is built in the ancient Kerala style with sanded courts, stone sculptures, a traditional auditorium and multi level roofs. In the evening of Pooram day, two lines of 13 elephants face each other, on the ground south to the temple. Each Pachyderm bears an umbrella holder, a peacock fan carrier and a yak-tail fly whisk wielder. Between the two lines of elephants stand percussion and wind orchestras. As each orchestra reaches a crescendo, a new display of brilliant ceremonial umbrellas blossoms over the elephants and the supporting crowd applauds. This continues till sunset when the elephants depart and late at night, the darkness explodes with a magnificent fireworks display.
The gods and their entourage arrived for the meeting on colourfully decorated tuskers. Even today, the converging of these divine processions at the festival venue is an awe inspiring sight. The pooram draws to a close with mind-blowing fireworks displays in the evening and in the wee hours of the next morning. Some of the main Pooram celebrations are at Aratupuzha, Thrissur, Uthralikavu, Cheeramkulangara, Pariyanampetta, Mannarkad, Perumanam, Aryankavu, Mangottu, Medamkulangara, Kodikal, Thirumandhamkunnu etc.
Thrissur Pooram is held in the Malayalam month of Medam (April- May). Devotees and spectators from all parts of the state and even outside, throng the 'Pooram'.
Introduced during the reign of Sakthan Thampuran (1775- 1790), the Raja of Kochi, Pooram is an assemblage of suburban deities before the presiding deity at the Siva temple in down town Thrissur. The Pooram celebration is held at the Thekkinkadu grounds.
Traditionally, two groups representing the main geographic divisions of Thrissur, Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi, rival to add to the Pooram's grandeur. Both teams field face to face arrays of richly caparisoned elephants.
And then 'Kudamattam', a competition in the swift and rhythmic changing of brightly coloured and sequinned parasols is conducted. The whole event takes place in rhythm with the traditional orchestra 'Pandimelam'.
Peruvanum temple's Sanctum Sanctorium has intricate carvings. On the festival day (Mar/Apr, 12 km from Thrissur), 30 sumptuously decorated elephants accompanied by scores of drummers - Panchari melam and Pandimelam - will be the main attraction. Event Date : 04 April 2009.
The famous Ayyappa temple at Aarattupuzha is just 14 km from Thrissur, and celebrates its annual pooram festival during March/April. Event Date : 06 April 2009.
On the sixth day of the seven day festival at Arattupuzha temple, 61 gaily caparisoned elephants bearing bright coloured umbrellas and parasols, gather in the temple grounds, accompanied by the temple music of Panchavadyam, nadaswaram, pacharimelam and pandimelam. The temple ensemble lends a majestic tenor to the extravaganza.
One of the most famous festivals of central Kerala, Uthralikavu Pooram is celebrated in the Malayalam month 'Kumbham' (February/ March).
On the eighth day of the utsavam at Rudhira Mahakaali kavu Temple (Uthralikavu, Vadakancherry, Trissur), 21 caparisoned tuskers line-up with colorful parasols atop them in the temple grounds, accompanied by Panchavadyam and Pandimelam.