Thrissur Pooram: What you need to know about the mother of all poorams

From the Ana Chamaya Pradarshanam of the Paramekkavu group. Photo: Manorama/Russel Shahul

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.

The sculptures prepared to add to the parasols for Paramekkavu group by Prasad Thottappathu. Photo: Manorama

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.

The origin

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.

Two doses of vaccine or RT-PCR must to attend 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.

Medical team

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.

The figurines of Lord Shiva prepared to add to the parasols of Paramekkavu group. Photo: Manorama

How it will happen

Arrival of Khadaka poorangal (subsidiary processions)

Venue: Sreemoolasthanam

Timing: From 7.30am onwards

First arrival: Kanimangalam sasthavu

Madathil Varavu Panchavadyam

Venue: In front of Naduvil Madhom near Thekkemadom

Timing: 11am

Led by Kongadu Madhu

Ilanjithara Melam

Venue: Courtyard of Vadakkunnathan Temple

Timing: 2.10pm

Led by Kizhakkoot Aniyan Marar

Speciality: The world’s ‘largest orchestra’

Chempada Melam

Venue: In front of Paramekkavu temple

Timing: 12.30pm

Led by Kizhakkoot Aniyan Marar

Kudamattam (parasol display)

Venue: Thekke Gopura Nada

Timing: 5pm

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

Monday's events


Timing: 9am

Venue: Nilapaduthara at Sreemoolasthanam

Face-to-face: Both groups with 15 elephants each

Upacharam chollal

Timing: 12.10pm

Deities bid farewell

Followed by Pakal Vedikettu (fireworks)

Emergency contacts

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

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