Thrissur: All roads led to the Thekkinkadu ground which hosted the majestic Thrissur Pooram as the city witnessed unprecedented turnout of people to witness the grand festival on Tuesday.
Contrary to previous years, women and children turned out in large numbers to soak in the electrifying atmosphere of pooram, which made a grand comeback after two years.
The pooram, the largest of festivals, was confined to mere rituals during the past two years due to COVID-19.
People descended on the pooram from the morning itself, and police and organisers had a tough time to make way for the Panchavadyam team. The 'Madathil Varavu' of Thiruvambady Bhagavathy was delayed by 10 minutes due to the crowd.
A sea of people occupied every inch of space up to the Round on Pandi Samoohamadam Road, even as the crowd on the opposite MG Road, too, reflected the same enthusiasm. This was the first time that Madathil Varavu witnessed such a huge crowd.
The excitement grew along with the Panchavadya Melam's wild beats reaching a rhythmic crescendo, swaying the crowd along with its melodious seven-beat 'Thripuda Thaalam.'
The enthusiasm was such that the Ilanjithara – where an assembly of percussion performance artists held next to the Ilanji tree (bullet wood tree) – was full by 11 am itself, at least two hours earlier than usual. At times, police and organisers looked helpless as they could not allow people into Vadakkumnathan Temple through the eastern entrance. The western entrance was almost totally blocked.
The enthusiasm grew as the day progressed, and Thekkenada, where 'Kudamattam', the competitive exchange of colourful parasols are held, was totally crowded at 3.30 pm itself. The parasols were brought in with much difficulty through the ecstatic crowd that had thronged the roads.
Even Swaraj Round was packed when Paramekkavu Bhagavathi rode out. When Thiruvambady's Melam concluded at Sreemoolasthanam, the crowd had occupied every inch of available space up to Naikkanal. As a sea of people surrounded the 'Melam'. very few managed to get in through the western gate.