Thrissur Pooram, the grand temple festival of Kerala slated for April 23, will be held without restrictions. The plan to allow just 200 people at a time for the annual fair too has been scrapped.
The decision was taken during a meeting between Thrissur collector S Shanavas, district authorities, Minister VS Sunilkumar and temple administrators on Sunday.
The development came after Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady Devaswoms, the two temple authorities that organize the Pooram, decided to limit the grand festival to just rituals this year in protest against the curbs imposed by the district authorities even as several other mass events are being held mostly unhindered across the state.
The Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady Devaswoms had informed the Trichur District Collector that the Pooram would be restricted to just the rituals if only online ticketing is insisted for public entry to the annual fair held prior to it.
As the temple bodies use the revenue from the exhibition to conduct the grand Pooram festivities, they fear any limits on public participation could constrict its finances.
Owing to the lockdowns and other curbs on public gathering even temple revenues have shrunk over the last year coinciding with the onslaught of the COVID-19.
The fair known as the Thrissur Pooram Exhibition or the All-India Agricultural, Industrial, Educational and Cultural Exhibition is organised jointly by Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple Devaswom and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple Devaswom, ahead of the Thrissur Pooram.
The venue is the Thekkinkadu Maidan, a grove around the famed Wadakkunnathan Temple, in the heart of the Thrissur city.
The Devaswoms blamed the Collector for trying to impose new conditions, which are contrary to the decisions taken at the Chief Secretary's meet.
However, in his letter on Saturday, the Collector had said that entry should be permitted for exhibition with only online tickets and that too just 200 people should be allowed entry at once. Subsequently, the Devaswoms made their stance clear.
In a letter addressed to the Collector, the Devaswoms argued that if there is no regulation on people's entry to the malls and theatres that are built on 20 cents then why impose restrictions only for Pooram that is held on large ground.
Also, political rallies in which thousands of people took part were held on the same ground recently. Pooram too should be allowed the permissions availed for such public activities, they demanded.
Moreover, commoners are unlikely to book tickets online. They also sought to know how funds could be garnered for Pooram without any revenue stream.
VS Sunilkumar, Minister for Agriculture, rapped the district authorities to trying to overturn the government decision. Recently, at a meet called by the Chief Secretary, it was decided that the Pooram could be held as usual.
The Thrissur Pooram 2021 is to be held late next month.