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Thrissur Pooram on April 19: Everything you should know about India's largest temple festival

Thrissur Pooram is one of the most famous and spectacular festivals celebrated in the city of Thrissur, Kerala, India. It is an annual Hindu temple festival that typically falls in the Malayalam month of Medam (April-May) according to the lunar calendar.

Thrissur Pooram on April 19: Everything you should know about India's largest temple festival anr
First Published Apr 18, 2024, 1:00 PM IST

Thrissur Pooram, an annual temple festival held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur during the Malayalam month of Medam (April-May), is one of the oldest and most renowned festivals in Kerala. This year, the festival will be observed on April 19. Regarded as the largest and most famous Pooram in India, it was conceptualized by Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790–1805). Thampuran orchestrated the festival with the participation of ten temples, including Paramekkavu, Thiruvambadi, Kanimangalam, Karamucku, Laloor, Choorakottukara, Panamukkampally, Ayyanthole, Chembukkavu, and Neythilakavu.

Pooram Location: 

For over two centuries, the Pooram has been hosted at the Vadakkumnatha Temple, one of Thrissur's oldest temples. Situated in the city center, it is conveniently reachable by train and bus. The main venue for the festivities is the Thekkinkadu Maidan (Thekkinkadu Ground), which encircles the temple.

Thrissur Pooram on April 19: Everything you should know about India's largest temple festival anr

What takes place at the Pooram?

The festival is characterized by a friendly rivalry between the Paramekkavu Bhagavathi Temple and the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple, located near the Vadakkumnatha Temple. These temples compete to surpass each other in various aspects, including the grand procession of elephants, percussion performances, fireworks, and the colorful display of umbrellas on elephants, known as the kudamattam ceremony. While Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi take the lead in the festivities, numerous smaller temples in the vicinity also contribute with processions, rituals, and cultural events.

Main events on Pooram Day:

The Pooram Day festivities on April 19 commence with 'Khadaka Poorangal' at 6 am, signaling the arrival of processions from subsidiary temples. This is succeeded by the traditional percussion ensemble performance known as 'Madhathil Varavu' at 11 am.

At 2 pm, an ensemble of percussion artists presents the 'Ilanjithara Melam' on the courtyard of the Vadakkumnatha Temple, beneath the Ilanji, or bullet wood, tree. Known as pandi melam, this two-and-a-half-hour performance is based on a seven-beat taal. It is a unique feature of Thrissur Pooram, as pandi melam is typically performed outside temple precincts.

Following the Ilanjithara Melam, the vibrant and lively Kudamattam ceremony takes place. The Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi groups enter the temple and engage in a spirited exchange of elaborately decorated umbrellas atop elephants against the backdrop of the melam. The Kudamattam is a captivating spectacle for all those in attendance.

Another highlight of Pooram is the parades of lavishly decorated majestic elephants, drawing elephant enthusiasts from across the state to witness the grand procession. The Devaswom Board, in collaboration with a committee of elephant experts, meticulously selects the elephants that will participate in the Pooram festivities.

Thrissur Pooram on April 19: Everything you should know about India's largest temple festival anr

Thrissur Pooram is incomplete without its extraordinary and magnificent fireworks display at the Thekkinkadu Maidanam. Both groups compete to deliver the most spectacular show, featuring four major fireworks, including the main pyrotechnics in the early morning hours. Some enthusiasts stay up all night to fully experience the grandeur of the fireworks.

Conclusion of Pooram:

On the seventh and final day, known as Pakal Pooram, the festival concludes with the farewell ceremony, or Upacharam Cholli Piriyal, where idols are returned to their respective temples. The festivities culminate with the Pakal Vedikettu, a final pyrotechnic display.



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