Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, will be in a mood of excitement and frenzy during April-May every year, thanks to their favourite festival Pooram. Considered the mother of all temple festivals, Thrissur Pooram was adjudged "the most spectacular festival event of the planet" by the UNESCO.

The Pooram in its present form was started by Sakthan Thampuran, the erstwhile Maharaja of Cochin, who ascended the throne in 1790. Before that the biggest festival in Kerala was the Pooram at Arattupuzha Temple, located 10 kms off Thrissur. Temples located in and around Thrissur used to participate in the Arattupuzha Pooram regularly. Once in the year 1798, some temples were denied access to the function by certain Nampoothiris. 

When he was informed of this, Sakthan Thampuran renovated the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur and made it  open to all. He arranged eight temples from the area into two groups under Paramekkavu and Thiruvampady for the conduct of festival at the Thekkinkadu Maidan near the Vadakkunnathan Temple. The same system from over 200 years has been followed rigorously till date.

The Pooram is a seven-day festival starting with the Kodiyettam or flag-hoisting ceremony. This is followed by the religious parts of the festival which are done at the Vadakkunnathan Temple itself. The fourth day witnesses the sample Vedikettu or the fireworks display ceremony.

Pooram's finale falls on the 'pooram' day of Malayalam calendar month 'medam'. The main events of the Pooram are Ilanjithara Melam, Madathil Varavu, Kudamattam and Vedikettu, which are all conducted in and around the Thekkinkadu Maidan.

On the sixth day, which is the main Pooram day, the Ilanjithara Melam starts in the afternoon. A group of around 250 artists do a grand percussion performance with instruments such as Chenda, Elathalam, Kombu, Kurumkuzhal etc which lasts for three hours. 

In the evening, the two groups come face to face for the much-awaited showdown. Each group has 15 caparisoned elephants with Venchamaram, Alavattom, Muthukuda (decorated parasols). Then the Kudamattam, the most colourful event of the Pooram, takes place. The speedy changing of umbrellas of different colours by both parties amidst the hysteric crescendo of percussion performance is called Kudamattam. 

On the seventh day, there will be a fantastic display of fireworks at the Swaraj Round, as fitting finale to the electric revels of the preceding days.

The salient feature of Pooram is the active participation of all people, cutting across religion and caste barriers. Also, around 100 elephants line up in various functions associated with the Pooram, making it the ultimate  destination for elephant lovers across the world.