Thrissur: Kerala is all set to witness and enjoy the 36-hour-long temple festival Thrissur Pooram, known as the mother of all poorams, on Sunday.
Ten temples are taking part in the fest this year.
On the Pooram day, the events at Thekkinkadu Maidanam start at 7.30 am with ‘Khataka Poorangal’ aka subsidiary pooram processions from nearby temples. The'Madathil Varavu’ — a conglomeration of artists accompanied by instruments like thimila, madhalam, trumpet, cymbal and edakka will be held at 11 am. The procession of ‘Bhagavati’ aka goddess is at 12 noon.
The percussion events start with Panchavadyam — an orchestra of five instruments; followed by Chempada Melam — a special performance with traditional percussion instruments; leading to the popular Ilanjithara Melam — an assembly of percussion performance artists held next to the Ilanji tree (bullet wood tree) at the courtyard of the Vadakkunnathan Temple.
Towards the end of the pooram, after the Ilanjithara melam, both Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi groups enter the temple through the western gate, come out through the southern gate (Thekkottirakkam) and array themselves face to face in distant places. At 5 pm, one of the most colourful parts of the Pooram, the ‘Kudamaattam’ ceremony will start. Bothe sides will display intricately designed parasols challanging each other to one up their collections.
On May 1, at 3 pm is the star event ‘Vedikkettu’ aka fireworks. ‘Pakal Pooram’ aka ‘Day Pooram’ is at 8 am and the concluding ceremony of ‘Upacharam Chollal’ is at 12 noon and Pakal vedikkettu fireworks display is at 12.45 am.
Thrissur Pooram, which has a heritage of more than two centuries, was started by Shakthan Thampuran, who was the ruler of the Kingdom of Cochin from 1790 to 1805. There is a story of neglect and excitement behind this most spectacular temple festival in Kerala. At that time Arattupuzha Pooram was the most famous Pooram in Kerala. Due to intense rains in 1796, groups from Paramekkavu, Thiruvambadi, Chempukkavu, Karamukku, Lalur, Ayyanthol, Chakkulathukavu, Neythalakavu and Kanimangalam temples could not reach Arattupuzha for the Pooram that year. Following this, they were banned from attending the event. When the banned temple groups complained to Shaktan Thampuran, he decided to challenge the ban by starting Thrissur Pooram on the Pooram day in the month of May in the same year. Today, Thrissur Pooram is so famed that it has a place on the global tourism calendar.
The temple groups and venue
The main constituents of the Pooram are Thiruvambadi and Paramekavu temple groups. Eight subsidiary temples too are associated with the Pooram. Only Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu have the right to pyrotechnic displays, hold a parade in the Swaraj Round, and lead the line up for the world-famous Kudamattam (exchange of ornated parasols).
Although the main festivals of Pooram are held at the Vadakkumnatha Temple grounds known as Poora Parambu, Vadakkumnathan, the deity of the Vadakkumnatha Temple, plays the role of the host in Thrissur Pooram.
Pink security zones for women
Facilities for women will be specially arranged in areas called ‘Pink Safety Zones. The arrangement is by Thrissur City Police and it will be in offices, schools and colleges near Swaraj Round. The facilities including toilets, breastfeeding areas, resting centres, refreshments and more.
Contact Thrissur City police women’s cell for more details: 0487 2420000; women police station – 0487-2420720 or or police control room – 0487-2424193.
Considering the severe heat, the health department has deployed a 500-member team. There will be medical teams, along with ambulance services, at five places in and around the Swaraj Round.
The Health Department has urged all those people attending the Pooram to drink lots of water and to carry water bottles with them. They must also wear a hat or carry an umbrella.
To prevent children from getting lost in the crowd, the city police have initiated a project 'Shradha' to tie a tag with the parents' names and phone numbers on the right wrist of all the children.
A special place has been set up for women and the differently abled to watch the 'Kudamattam'. The differently abled should have submitted applications in advance to gain access to the place. Twenty-five parking spaces have been arranged for those arriving in their own vehicles.
What to see
With the opening of the Thekke Gopura Nada (south gate of the Vadakkunnathan Temple) on Saturday, the Poora Vilambaram (declaration of the opening of the Thrissur Pooram) was held.
From Pooram Pradarshanam, Ana Chamaya Pradarshanam, to fitness examination of elephants, there are several events to watch out for in Thrissur. There will be a special laser show on the newly unveiled 55ft Hanuman statue at Seetha Ramaswamy Temple in Punkunnam at 7.15pm till the Pooram day.
How it will happen
Arrival of Khadaka poorangal (subsidiary processions)
Timing: From 7.30am onwards
First arrival: Kanimangalam sasthavu
Madathil Varavu Panchavadyam
Venue: In front of Naduvil Madhom near Thekkemadom
Led by Kongadu Madhu
Venue: Courtyard of Vadakkunnathan Temple
Led by Kizhakkoot Aniyan Marar
Speciality: The world’s ‘largest orchestra’
Venue: In front of Paramekkavu temple
Led by Kizhakkoot Aniyan Marar
Kudamattam (parasol display)
Venue: Thekke Gopura Nada
Face-to-face: Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi groups
Speciality: The most colourful sight of Pooram
Vedikettu (fireworks display)
Venue: Thekkinkadu Maidanam
Timing: 3am on Monday
Order: First Thiruvambadi group, followed by Paramekkavu
Highlight: Scintillating fireworks
Venue: Nilapaduthara at Sreemoolasthanam
Face-to-face: Both groups with 15 elephants each
Deities bid farewell
Followed by Pakal Vedikettu (fireworks)
Police control room - 0487-2424193
East police - 0487-2424192
Traffic police - 0487-2445259
ACTS ambulance - 0487-2321500
Fire force - 101, 0487-2423650
General hospital - 0487-2200310
KSRTC stand - 0487-2421150
Thrissur railway station - 0487-2423150
Women can call on to
Police women cell - 0487 2420000
Women police station - 0487 2420720
Special helpline number - 1515