Absent spectators, troublesome tuskers, firework controversies & more: Thrissur Pooram in 5 years

Tusker Ernakulam Sivakumar greeting a huge gathering outside the Thekke Gopura Nada of Vadakkunnathan Temple after the 'vilambaram' of Thrissur Pooram on Saturday. Photo: Manorama

Many hearts were broken when the legendary Thrissur pooram was conducted just for the sake of rituals, without the public participation and festivities, during the pandemic times. The next year too the iconic temple festival didn’t have its quintessential spirit as the threat of Covid-19 was still looming. Here is a photo journey through pooram in the last five years.

Thrissur Pooram returned with all its pomp and geity, this year. Photo: Aravind Bala

This year, Thrissur pooram returned with all its might and glory with Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi vying to grab the upper hand in vadyamelam or the percussion orchestra. Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, the elderly percussion artist, who has led the Ilanjithara melam for the last twenty four years would be absent this year.

Peruvanam Kuttan Marar was replaced with Kizhakkut Aniyan Marar to lead ilanjitharamelam, this year. Photo: Manorama

Meanwhile, the Ilanjithara melam would be led by veteran artist Kizhakoottu Aniyan Marar who is one of the senior most melam artists in Kerala.

The jumbos
The lovers of Pooram would miss seven elephants that were part of the festivities in the previous years. It was in July last year that Paramekkavu Padmanabhan, the iconic jumbo that had carried the idol of Paramekkavu for the last two decades, had died. Elephant lovers would cheer with pride and exhilaration when Padmanabhan majestically entered the festivities with the idol on his back.

Elephant Paramekkavu Padmanabhan's funeral ceremony. Photo: Manorama

Paramekkavu Devidasan, the elephant that had been part of the Thekkottirakam ritual for the last twenty one years too had died recently. The jumbo once got the chance to carry the idol for the night pooram. Meanwhile, Machadu Karnan too was a regular at Pooram. Cherpulassery Ayyapan, the elephant known for its majestic looks too is no more.

Elephant Paramekkavu Devidasan recently passed away and was part of 'Thekkottirakkam' for almost 20 years. Photo: Manorama

Nadakkal Unnikrishnan and Guruvayoor Dewaswom Junior Madhavankutty, the elephants that represented Pramekkavu and Kunnamkulam Ganesan, a regular in the Thiruvambadi side for the scintillating elephant pageant would be missed.

Pooram @ 2022
After celebrating a lackluster Pooram for two years, the legendary temple festivities were celebrated with all its glory in 2022. The crowds returned to be part of the spectacular festivities.

The Pooram of 2022 allowed spectators to enjoy with no restrictions, after two years of pandemic. Photo: Manorama

The pooram was restricted to just the temple rituals with meagre public participation. The sample firework display and the exhibition of the fineries were avoided. Entry was banned in the Swaraj Round. Meanwhile, entry to the temple premises where the pooram was held was restricted through passes.

Thrissur Pooram in 2020 was held in a low-key manner. Photo: Manorama

It was for first time in half a century that pooram was conducted with no more than five people in attendance. The pandemic had marred the glory of the iconic festival which ended with just the temple rituals. Incidentally, Thrissur was one of the districts that reported the highest number of Covid 19 cases then.

Pooram@ 2019
Both Paramekkavu and Thiruvanabadi raised parasols, during the kudamattam (exchange of parasols), paying homage to the soldiers who had lost their lives in Pulwama terror attack.

Tribute to Pulwama at Thrissur Pooram in 2019. Photo: Manorama

There were confusions regarding the approval for conducting the fireworks display which is the main event of the festivities. After much disputes and discussion, the revenue and the explosive authorities gave the green flag.

Representational image
There were confusions regarding the approval for conducting the fireworks display which is the main event of the festivities. Photo: Manorama

The Madathilvaram orchestra was led by veteran percussion artist Kongadu Madhu. Meanwhile, the idol of Lord Krishna was carried by majestic jumbo Thiruvambadi Shivasundar, for the Thiruvambadi side. Master percussion artist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar led the orchestra when Paramekkavu Padmanabhan entered, carrying the golden idol of the Paramekkavu Goddess.

Kongadu Madhu, who led ilanjitharamelam this year. Photo: Manorama

Meanwhile, the crowds forgot themselves in the thrilling beats of the pandimelam led by Kizhakoottu Aniyan Marar and the panchavadyam orchestra led by Parakkadu Thankappa Marar. 

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