Thrissur: The D-day falls on May 13, when all roads in the temple town of Thrissur would lead to the famed Vadakkumnathan Temple ground to witness the mother of all festivities - Thrissur Pooram. The cultural extravaganza complete with caparisoned elephants, stunning firecrackers’ display and traditional percussions would be on from Monday morning till Tuesday afternoon.
May 13, Cherupooram, 7.30am
The first to arrive at the Pooram ground would be Kanimangalam Shasthavu.
This will be followed by Panamukkumpilly, Chembukkavu, Karumukku, Lalur, Choorakkottukavu, Ayyanthole and Naithilakkavu Poorams who arrive to pay obeisance to Lord Vadakkumnathan. Position yourself at the western nada to see the small Poorams making their way in all their glory. The place is also ideal for those who love to tap their foot to the rhythmic Chenda beats.
Madathil Varavu, 11am
Head to Brahmaswom Madam at Pazhayanadakkavu near the MG Road in the town by around 11 in the morning. You will be rewarded with the renowned Madathil Varavu Panchavadyam led by Kongadu Madhu. You can then accompany the procession to Swaraj Round by 12.30pm.
The Ezhunallathu of Paramekkavu Bhagavathy accompanied by 15 elephants is next. Be sure to book your spot to listen to Chembadamelam by Kuttan Marar that is sure to drum up the excitement. After the Chembadamelam, you can accompany the crowd of percussion lovers, keeping the beat to Pandimelam, on their way to Ilanji.
Ilanjithara Melam, 2pm
Ilangithara Melam is a standout event by the Paramekkavu group. It is regarded as one of world's biggest orchestra. Around 300 artisans would assemble under the leadership of Peruvanam Kuttan Marar at Ilanjithara, located at the western nada of Vadakkumnathan temple, to treat you to one of the best percussion performances. It will end by 4.30pm.
The Melam by Thiruvambadi group also culminates by 4.45pm and they too head to the south Gopuranada.
After the Ilanjithara Melam, both groups summon 15 elephants for Kudamattom. One of the most-awaited events, Kudamattom will have the crowds swarming from all over. Either you will have to jostle for space in this sea of humanity or book your place on top of one of the nearby high-rises.
Once the Kudamattom ends by 7pm on Monday, put yourself to sleep or loiter around the Pooram ground for there is more to come.
May 14, 3 am
Head to Swaraj round in the wee hours of Tuesday and you will witness one of the vibrant fireworks on display.
However, pregnant women and those with infants should desist from going to the Swaraj Round. Colourful firecrackers would continue to light up the sky till the dawn breaks.
Fifteen elephants of Paramekkavu would assemble at the Sreemola Sthanam. Thiruvambadi too would bring in their 15 tuskers along with Pandimelam to Sreemola Sthanam by 8.30am. After the firecrackers’ display of Pakalpooram, elephants with the deities of Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi mounted on them would face one another.
The deities then promise to meet again at the next year's Pooram before bidding farewell to one another.
Before you too step out of the Pooram land, gulp down Poorakanji available on the ground and mark your date for the next year's festival.
For those heading to Pooram
Not easy to get hotel rooms on Pooram day or the day before.
Car parking would be an arduous task on Pooram day.
Even food of your choice won't be easy to come by.
Be wary of pickpockets – guard your valuable possessions, including wallets and gold jewellery, the police have warned.