DatesTo be Announced
Kerala, the God’s own country is well known for being a home to multiple religions with all religions having a significant place and contribution to the rich culture of Kerala. Each religion has festivals that bloom and glorify the state. These festivals are the time when you see the people of Kerala at their best, dressed in colorful and vibrant clothes and being at the top of their hospitality game. One of the festivals that captures the essence of Kerala is the Pooram which is a festival held every year in the temples of northern Kerala. Pooram is a common term to address the annual festivals held every year in the temples of Kerala. These festivals are a common practice in the areas of Thrissur, Palakkad, and Malappuram. The Pooram of Thrissur is the most famous of them all. The festival is usually celebrated sometime in the months of April and May as per the Gregorian calendar, however the festival in Thrissur is observed in the Medom month as per the Malayalam calendar. Every Pooram has its own customs and traditions that the temples believe, however the custom of decorating the elephants and playing music is common to all. Thousands and thousands of people from the surrounding regions as well as far away come to experience this beautiful festival of colours and prayers.
The festivities of Pooram started with the Arattupuzha Pooram; they were the ones that started the tradition of Pooram all over Kerala. The Arattupuzha Pooram was the first pooram in which all temples from Thrissur took part. They would all carry the procession towards the Arattupuzha temple. However, one year there were heavy rains and many of the temples surrounding Arattupuzha temple couldn’t reach the festival on time. The late comers weren’t allowed inside the temple premises. The temples then took this issue to Raja Rama Varma and he informed them that Thrissur will have their own Pooram, different from that of the Arattupuzha temple. All the temples in Thrissur began the preparation for this Pooram, there were ten temples that united and started preparing a procession that would go towards the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur. This made the Thrissur Pooram the biggest in the state of Kerala. The temples participated with full enthusiasm, they carried they decorated elephants and played the music and walked towards the Vadakkunnathan Temple.
The festival holds a great significance for the authorities of the temples as this is the one festival where the temples of Kerala get to do something together; it is a festival meant for the temples, to celebrate their importance and hard work along with praising the Lord. This festival is the time for the people of the land to come together and celebrate and enjoy the procession irrespective of their caste, religion and gender. Discrimination moves past and the people of the land come together to enjoy the sight of the procession. The festival is celebrated to praise Goddess Durga and Kali. The Thrissur festival is to praise the lord Shiva. The Vadakkunnathan Temple doesn’t add anything to the procession, it is a mere spectator of the festival while the other temples carry their procession towards the Vadakkunnathan Temple. Ten temples together participate in the procession. The Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple and the Paramekkavu temple are the two major temples that take part in the procession. They gather a lot of crowd along with them.
The festival a seven day long festival and the main day is the sixth day when the Pooram is actually held. The temples from the vicinity, namely the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple, Laloor Bhagavathy Temple, Sree Karthyayani Temple, Kanimangalam Sastha Temple, Nethila Kavu Bhagavathy Temple, which form the western group and come along with the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple. The other group is the eastern side group which consists of the Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple, Panamukkumpally Sastha Temple, Pookattikkara - Karamukku Bhagavathy Temple, Chembukkavu Bhagavathy Temple, and the Parakkottukavu Bhagavathy Temple. All of these temples walk towards the Vadakkunnathan temple while they play music of different forms and carry their well decorated elephants along with them. The priests decorate the temples extravagantly on the days of the festival and also are the elephants by making them wear ornaments and clothes. This tradition is considered very auspicious. Along with that a musical ensemble is present; this ensemble plays different types of music using different instruments which are authentic to the state. These musical performances are called melams and one of the most famous of them all is the Pandi Melam which is performed outside the temple at the time of the festival. The Panchari melam is similar to the Pandi Melam because of the location it is played in, however the melam follows a different beat compared to the rhythmic beat. Another melam is the Panchavadyam which has five musical instruments forming a single symphony which is fast and upbeat. The Chenda performance is also a very important part of the whole procession for they create the vibe of the festival and add a very authentic flavour to it. The Elephants are decorated with beautiful ornaments and an umbrella is fixed on the back of every elephant taking part in the procession.
How to reach and accommodation availability-
You must experience the Thrissur Pooram if you are visiting Kerala in the month of April and May. The place is vibrant with music and devotion. Everyone is together enjoying and celebrating the festivals and the processions organized by the temples. You can reach Thrissur by taking a train to the district from any major city of India. There are many hotels and hostels available to accommodate you and all of them are scattered all over the state of Kerala. Since the state is small you can book a place anywhere in the state and take a trip all over the state.
Other things to do around that time
Stay in Kerala for as long as you can, it will be best if you take a stay in the boat houses in the backwaters of Kerala. Enjoy the beauty of God’s own state by experiencing the luscious green hills and slopes.
Kochi - Munnar
Thekkady - Kuttanad - Kumarakom
Trivandrum - CapeComorin
Kovalam - Alleppey - Kumarakom - Periyar - Munnar - Cochin - Trivandrum