Tuskers, music and sea of crowd mark Thrissur Pooram

Thrissur Pooram
Pooram from the Ayyanthole Karthyayini Temple. Photo: Jeejo John

Thrissur: The magnificent Pooram festival was celebrated yet again before a multitude of fans here on Monday. Among the highlights was the exchange of parasols. Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi temples competed to display a more colourful extravaganza.

Meanwhile, thousands joined the Panchavadyam recital held as part of Madathilvaravu ritual. While Kongad Madhu and team played Thimila, Maddhalam and other percussion instruments, the audience followed the beats by moving their hands and head.

Numerous people had assembled in front of the Brahmaswom Madom much before the Madathilvaravu, which started at 11.30 am. When the recital peaked, every building and wall in the locality was occupied. Nobody seemed to be bothered about the intense heat during noon.

According to legend, the Swamiyar of Brahmaswom Madom used to hand over the decorations for the elephants belonging to Thiruvambadi temple. In return, Thiruvambadi was supposed to hold the ‘Erakki ezhunnallippu’ ritual and Panchavadyam recital in front of the Madom. At present, the golden decorations are no longer supplied by the Madom. But the Panchavadyam is organized with full vigour.

Regular fans moved their hands anticipating every beat. For the benefit of novices, the artistes repeated their notes. Soon, each and every person in the crowd merged with the sounds emanating from the percussionists. Nobody missed even a single beat

Unprecedented security arrangements imposed in the wake of the recent Sri Lankan blasts did not deter lakhs of festival buffs, who thronged the sprawling Thekkinkadu ground in front of the Vadakkunnatha Temple to have a glimpse of the annual spectacle.

Cutting across religious and age barriers, people clapped and cheered in unison when the parade and face-to-face meeting of 30 caparisoned elephants -- 15 each from the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady temples -- was held this evening.

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'Kudamattam', the change of colourful ornamental silk parasols in quick succession by people mounted atop the elephants enthralled the spectators.

The display of 'nettipattams' (the golden caparisons) 'venchamaram' (ornamental fan made of peacock feathers) and 'muthukkuda' (decorative umbrellas) was a feast to the eyes.

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The 'panchavadyam and pandimelam', the traditional music ensembles in front of elephants by an array of percussionists added rhythmic beauty to the annual spectacle.

Percussion maestro Peruvanam Kuttan Marar led the 'Ilanjithara Melam', an assembly of percussion performance artists held in front of the Ilanji tree in the premises of Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Controversy over the participation of 'Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran', the state's tallest tusker, in the Pooram festivities had caused anxiety among festival buffs this year.

The district authorities had earlier denied permission to the jumbo to take part in the festivities on health grounds, but later gave the conditional nod after it cleared a fitness test.

Marking the ritual heralding of Pooram, Ramachandran had Sunday pushed open the southern entrance of the shrine amidst thunderous cheers of the people gathered on the temple ground.

The two-century-old Thrissur Pooram had its origin in 1798, through a royal edict of the then Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Shakthan Thampuran, a powerful ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Cochin.

The edict entrusted two local temples -- Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady -- as the main sponsors of the festivities to be conducted in a competitive spirit.

Besides the main poorams of the two temples, small poorams from nearby temples converged at the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Vadakkunnathan temple.

The majestic display of fireworks in the wee hours Tuesday would mark the conclusion of this year's Pooram festivities.

Over 3,500 police personnel were deployed in and around Thrissur, the cultural capital of the state, for the smooth conducting of the annual spectacle.

(With PTI inputs)

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