Thrissur Pooram: 'Kudamattam' ends leaving festival lovers spellbound

Video grab of ilanjitharamelam. Photo: Manorama News

The most exciting stage of Kerala's much-loved temple festival, Thrissur Pooram -- the 'Kudamattam', has ended after a marvellous display at the Thekkinkadu Maidan Sunday evening. 

Kudamattam was held after two hours of vibrant ilanjitharamelam percussion display. 

The excitement of the crowd was palpable as Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu contingents displayed parasols of various hues, one after the other.

After parasols of regular shades, they moved to challenging each other with silk and designer 'kudas.' Some of the interesting parasoles included 'kummatti,' 'Murukan,' tiger, 'theyyam' and  'Shiva' shapes, double and triple decker kudas. The LED parasols and a few other types augmented with latest technology were also displayed.

During the 'Thekkottirakkam' phase of the fest that preceded 'Kudamattam,' both Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi groups entered the Vadakkumnathan temple through the western gate, and come out through the southern gate. Post that, they arrayed themselves face to face to display intriately designed parasols, challenging each other to line up their collections. The segment, just as the preceding ones, were delayed as the authorities struggled to manage the huge crowd but none of it dampened the spirits of the spectators. 

A Thrissur Pooram illustration by Manorama

The melam and panchavadyam that won over crowds

During the hours before kudamattam, percussion lovers thronged the 'ilanjithara' at the Vadakkumnatha Temple for the crowd-puller ensemble ilanjitharamelam, led by Kizhakoottu Aniyan Marar.

The Madhathil Varavu Panchavadyam performance. Photo: Russell Shahul/Manorama

Though it began 40 minutes late, spectators were in high spirits as the melam passed through its entertaining rhythmic cycles.

The melam was staged soon after the pooram lovers soaked themselves in the Madhathil Varavu panchavadyam performance led by Kongadu Madhu, for almost two hours.

The pooram, famed as Kerala's biggest temple festival, began early in the morning on Sunday and thousands thronged at Thekkinkadu Maidan to watch the proceedings.

Thanks to Saturday evening's heavy showers, Sunday morning had the perfect weather to enjoy pooram, though many fear whether the rain will play spoilsport as there is an orange alert in the district on Sunday.

The celebrations began with the ceremonial entrance of the Kanimangalam Sastha through the southern gate on Elephant Chirakkal Kalidasan.

It was followed by the Khataka Poorangal aka subsidiary pooram processions. Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, the elephant with the most number of fans in Kerala, held the 'thidambu' of Naithalakkavu Bhagavathy.

A pooram for women and specially abled
The pooram this year has special facilities and a pavilion for the differently abled and women to enjoy the festivities. There are also Pink safe centres for women to watch Pooram safely, feed babies and use toilets. Around 200 foreign tourists have also taken passes to watch the pooram.

4,000 police personnel, elephant darting teams
More than 4,000 police personnel are deployed to maintain law and order during the event. Elephant darting teams are also ready to meet any requirements in the event, which has close to 100 elephants taking part in it in various processions. There is also an Elephant Protection Team (EPT) to ensure nobody irritates the animals.

Free food, buttermilk and juice
The Thrissur Corporation and Accident Care and Transport Service (ACTS) collaborated to provide free food (chapati and vegetable curry) on Sunday, at the ACTS office, from noon. The group Vadakkumnathan Walkers also provided free buttermilk and juice for Pooram aficionados.

Here are the rest of the events for the day:

Vedikettu (fireworks display)
Venue: Thekkinkadu Maidanam
Timing: 3 am on Monday
Order: First Thiruvambadi group, followed by
Highlight: Scintillating fireworks

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