Kerala’s most popular Thrissur Pooram festival is celebrated in the month of April or May. All temples of the state participate in this auspicious celebration and it’s said to be one of the oldest festivals. A unique thing about this festival is that it’s celebrated by people of all castes and religions. There are spectacular processions and other activities during this celebration that attracts a lot of tourists. Here’s what experiencing one of Kerala’s biggest festivals - Thrissur Pooram feels like!
During ancient times, Thrissur was believed to be known as Virshahchala and Kailasa - the abode of Lord Shiva in the South. The term ‘Thrissur’ comes from ‘Thiru-Shiva-Perur’, which stands for the City of the Sacred Shiva.
Thrissur Pooram is celebrated annually in the Thrissur region of Kerala. It’s considered as the festival of festivals and is celebrated at Vadakkunnathan Temple. The story behind the origin of this grand festival is super interesting!
Legend has it that due to heavy rains, devotees couldn’t make it to the Arattupuzha festival. It’s one of the oldest Pooram festivals in Kerala. Since they arrived late, they weren’t allowed inside the temple premises. The temple officials, then, out of embarrassment notified this to the then-ruler of Thrissur, Sakthan Thampuran, also known as Raja Rama Verma. He then organized another festival that was more extravagant than the previous one. This is how the Thrissur Pooram Festival is said to have emerged in Kerala.
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The Thrissur Pooram festival is celebrated on Pooram day when the moon is said to shine with the Pooram star. This is the month of Medam (April-May) in the Malayalam calendar. All the events related to this festival take place in the Vadakkumnathan Temple. This temple is nestled in the heart of Thrissur town and adjoining the ground of Thekkinkadu.
The festival was started by Raja Rama Verma, the king of Cochin back during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was after his orders that devotees brought deities from all temples to Vadakkunnathan Temple. The purpose behind this was to celebrate a unified temple festival that would be grand and extravagant. Devotees who visit this festival every year believe that all the Gods and Goddesses gather together during the time of Pooram. Since it’s believed to be a sacred gathering, the festival is celebrated with such grandeur and enthusiasm.
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The Thrissur Pooram Festival begins with a flag-hoisting ceremony. Its announcement is done with fireworks wherein the first round of lighting fireworks is called Vedikettu. The preparation of decorations for the elephants for the procession is done on the fourth day. Ornamental fans, bells, and umbrellas are prepared for the procession in advance. The interesting part is that the previous year’s decorations aren’t reused for the next year. So, devotees come together and make new ones which are then displayed to the attendees in Thrissur during the festival.
Thrissur Pooram Festival starts early in the morning with the Madathil Varavu ceremony. This is one of the most important ceremonies of this festival. Over 200 artists come together and play musical instruments on the temple premises. Following this is the most awaited grand procession. Around 15-30 elephants are decorated for this grand procession. There are mainly two groups of devotees that carry out the festivities - people from Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu. The devotees from both these groups come in a procession, face each other, and exchange ornaments during this festival. This ceremony is known as Kudamattam.
The procession comes to a halt towards the western side of the Vadakkunnathan Temple. When this festival is about to come to an end, there is another firework display for the attendees. The last ceremony is called Punacharam Cholli Piriyal. During this ceremony, the idols of the different deities are taken back to their respective temples. After this is Pakal Vedikettu, a massive display of fireworks.
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Apart from its religious significance, Thrissur Pooram is also one of the biggest post-harvest festivals in Kerala. Although there are several harvest festivals in the state, this one definitely stands out. It is through the grand celebrations during this festival that visitors and tourists come to know about the culture and lifestyle of South India.
Many attendees of this festival believe that Vadakkunnathan Temple is graced by the presence of God and Goddesses. The procession of elephants is accompanied by the music playing on Chenda Melam and Panchavadyam (instruments used for various Kerala art forms). This grand celebration is almost 36 hours long! But there are certain special highlights of Thrissur Pooram that we’d like to take you through.
The Kudamattam ceremony is a delight to watch! This is when all the elephants are decked up and lined together. The elephants are adorned in traditional outfits and ornaments of vibrant colors. During their performance, 15 elephants compete with each other, and watching this take place is incredibly amazing. This procession of elephants that are caparisoned is known as Ana Chamayal Pradarsana.
Ilanjithara Melam is the ceremony wherein visitors get an opportunity to enjoy the traditional orchestra of this festival. Such a bewitching performance calls for people across the country and transports them into a state of euphoria and bliss! This traditional orchestra is led by the Chenda artists who are encouraged and cheered by thousands of spectators. Apart from Chenda, other instruments like Kurumkuzhal, Kombu, and Elathalam add to the rhythmic melody during this festival.
Experiencing one of Kerala’s biggest festivals - Thrissur Pooram is an adventure like no other! It gives you an opportunity to feel the true essence of South India. The magnificence, culture, traditions, and excitement of this festival are such that it’ll truly blow your mind!
Which Is The Biggest Pooram In Kerala?
Thrissur Pooram is said to be one of the biggest Poorams in Kerala.
What Is Special About Thrissur Pooram?
Thrissur Pooram is a magnificent festival celebrated in Kerala. Its special grandeur comprises a beautiful display of fireworks, caparisoned elephants, and percussion music.
Which Is The Oldest Pooram Festival In The World?
Arattupuzha Pooram is considered as one of the oldest Pooram festivals in the world.
Is Thrissur Pooram Biggest Festival?
One of the biggest and grandest Pooram festivals in India is Thrissur Pooram. It takes place every year in the Vadakkunnathan Temple, located in the Thrissur region of Kerala.
Which Puja Is Famous In Kerala?
The people of Kerala celebrate Navratri puja with great devotion, enthusiasm, and gaiety.
Why Is Thrissur Called The Cultural Capital Of Kerala?
Thrissur in Kerala is home to popular institutions like Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy, Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, and Kerala Sahitya Academy. It’s also the place where the most talked about Thrissur Pooram festival takes place. That’s why Thrissur is called the cultural capital of Kerala.
Which Is The Famous Festival Of Kerala?
Onam is one of the most famous festivals in Kerala.
Which Is The First Pooram In Kerala?
Arattupuzha Pooram is the oldest and the first Pooram in Kerala. The visual extravagance of this festival draws the attention of visitors from all over the state.