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Thrissur Pooram

Talk about Thrissur Pooram and the images that come to mind is that of caparisoned elephants and the panchavadyam – a classical performance of five traditional musical instruments. Thrissur Pooram, the annual temple festival held at Thrissur town in Kerala, attracts thousands of people from India and around the world. In 2017, the date of Thrissur Pooram is May 5.

About Thrissur Pooram
The main attraction of Thrissur Pooram festival is the arrival of caparisoned elephants from the surrounding temples to the sprawling ground of Vadakumnathan Temple located in the heart of Thrissur city. But Vadukumnathan Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, only remains as a spectator during the festival.
The most important processions are that of the Thiruvambadi Shri Krishna Temple and the Paramekkavu Devi Temple. Apart from the two major temples, eight minor temples participate in the Pooram. More than 30 elephants are paraded by the two major temples.

On the Pooram day, around noon, crowds build in large numbers at Thekkinkadu ground to have a glimpse of the ‘Madathil Varavu’ procession of the Thiruvambady Sri Krishna Temple.
Next, the Paramekkavu Devi procession enters the Vadakkunnathan temple. Pandimelam (traditional temple musical performance) is held during this time. The stunning and highly cherished ‘Elanjithara melam’ (a performance of classic temple musical instruments) begins when the procession reaches the elanji tree inside the temple compound.

In the evening, excitement of the Pooram reaches at its zenith when the processions of the Thiruvambady Sri Krishna Temple and Paramekkavu Devi Temple face each other at the Thekkegopura Nada area in the ground for the world famous ‘kudamattom’ display.
In ‘kudamattom’, the Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu temples engage in an awe inspiring competitive display of colorful umbrellas of various designs.

Next major event associated with the Thrissur Pooram is the fireworks display held early morning next day. After several accidents, the famed fireworks display at the Pooram is heavily regulated.
The Pooram will come to an end with the farewell ritual of Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu temples at about noon in front of the Vadakkunnathan temple.

Live Telecast of Thrissur Pooram
Local and national television channels show great interest in the Thrissur Pooram. Local Malayalam channels like Asianet News, People, Kairali, Amrita and Manorama News air the Thrissur Pooram live from the morning itself. But till now there is no talk of online webcasting or live streaming of the Pooram. But this too will surely happen in the near future.

About Elephants Taking Part in Poorams and the Ban
Pooram, or Poorams, are traditional festivals held in Hindu temples in Kerala and the highlights being caparisoned elephants and panchavadyam. Each Pooram is a prestigious event for the particular village or town or region and there is discipline and active people participation.

But with commercialization creeping into traditional Hindu festivals, the organizers are only interested in increasing revenue and this means parading more and more elephants in small poorams held across Kerala. There is always a shortage of elephants and this means the existing elephants have to work overtime.

Net result is elephants running amok during poorams. Two elephants ran amok during the last Thrissur Pooram. Numerous other incidents of elephants running amok and killing mahouts were reported from various parts of Kerala state. Keeping this in mind the Kerala High Court upheld the ban of parading of elephants between 1100 hrs (IST) and 1400 hrs at all festivals during the summer season. But the ban was later lifted.