A visual treat drawing masses from the nooks of the world, Pooram , hosted by Kerala’s cultural capital, Thrissur is really a wonder, the visual impact of which stays with the viewer forever. A land of many temples, Kerala has one of its kind in Thrissur too, Sri Vadakumnatha Temple, the main deity of which is Lord Shiva.The conceptual designer of the festival is Shakthan Thampuran, the Maha Raja of Kochi , who organized Pooram on an experimental basis bringing ten temples around Thrissivaperur(previous name of Thrissur, which means the land of Lord Shiva) together in participation. Of ten, only two temples are stakeholders of Pooram today, Paramekavu Bhagavathi Temple and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple. It’s said that annually these deities pay a visit to Lord Vadakumnatha on Pooram star of malayalam month, Medam.
As a native of Thrissur and also as a curious child, I well remember how my father refused to take us along with him for fear of the crowd. Like a bride, the entire town gets ready for the festival in the month of April- May(Medam, the malayalam month)though preparations begin long before. Tourists reserve resorts and restaurants months before and natives too reserve places weeks before just to ensure a better view. If a native plan to visit the venue on those three days, that’s going to be another Herculean task.
Into the highlights of the Festival:
Venue: Thekkinkadu Maidanam, just a kilo meter away from Thrissur railway station.
Major attractions: Extravagantly and royally decked up elephants, about 120 of them, for Kudamattam.Kudamattam is the rhythmic exchange of brightly decorated , totally anew and caparisoned parasols, where the two temples compete to show off their innovative ideas in displaying parasols. Accompanying percussion artists with Chenda, Ilathalam, Kombu, Kuzhal(traditional percussion instruments) support them, with Melam. For kudamattam, the two sets troops from these temples enter the Vadakumnathan temple through the western gate and exit by the eastern gate.
Ilanjithara Melam: During his times, my father, who had a craze for elephants and percussion music, would never miss this! A big troop of percussion artists perform in front of huge number of followers under the Ilanji tree(bullet wood tree) of Vadakumnatha temple’s courtyard. The varied rhythms of those instruments would make anybody go crazy, my father would say.
If you have plans, the Cochin International Airport is at hardly an hour’s distance…even after Pooram, there is an exhibition organised by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, near the Town Hall. You can visit Shakthan Thampuran Museum, which is under the archaeological department. On May 2 of 2020, people around would definitely miss that festive ambience, for next year even you may plan for a trip.