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Peruvanam Pooram 2023 date – History Of Peruvanam Shiva Temple Pooram Festival - Complete List Of Temples Participating

Peruvanam Pooram is the annual festival observed at the Shiva Temple at Peruvanam near Cherpu in Thrissur District in Kerala. The famous pooram festival in the shrine is observed in Kumbham month. Peruvanam Pooram 2023 date is March 3. It is observed on the Punartham  Nakshatra in Kumbha Masam.

The highlight of the festival is caparisoned elephants, melam and fireworks. The utsava murti worshipped in the temple is taken around atop a caparisoned elephant, which is accompanied by another five elephants. Several unique rituals and pujas are performed during the festival period. Traditional Kerala temple performing arts, music, songs and other cultural activities are held during the period.

The panchari melam in the shrine begins at midnight and continues for four hours.

The deity of Peruvanam temple, Irattayappan., does not participate in the pooram, and is a silent spectator to the proceedings. The participation is limited to temples of Devi and Sastha in the region. It is said that the festival used to witness participation from 108 temples. Presently, the festivities consist of processions (called Ezhunnallippu) from few temples.

History Of  Peruvanam Pooram

In ancient times, Peruvanam Pooram was held for 28 days starting from Uthram nakshatra in Kumbha Masam to Uthram nakshatra in Meena Masam at Irattayappan temple. There used to be various rituals and during  pujas on all the days of the festival. Valiya Vilakku was the most important day of the festival.

Once during the temple festival, the main priest was performing the Bali ritual. He happened to hear a bad news while performing the ritual. He had to immediately stop the ritual. From that day the festival was stopped at Peruvanam temple.

After several years it was decided by the villagers to conduct a special festival on the earlier Valiya Vilakku day. All the deities of the in the nearby region where invited to the Peruvanam temple. The deities from various temples arrived on the day and started paying obeisance to Irattayappan.

It is said in ancient times 108 deities, 56 kingdoms and thousands of people used to participate in the Peruvanam Pooram. It is said that there was no pooram like the Peruvanam Pooram.

Various Temples Participating In Peruvanam Pooram

The first deity to arrive at the temple for pooram is the Bhagavathy from the Pisharikkal temple at Katalassery. She arrives with a single caparisoned elephant. All other deities enter the temple only after Pisharikkal Devi pays her obeisance and exits the temple.

The first main Pooram on the festival days is of Arattupuzha Sastha. The deity arrives at the temple through the southern gopuram before sunset. Seven elephants decorated with exquisite ornaments stand in a row facing north are exposed to the rays of the setting sun. An elaborate Pandi Melam commences immediately and after about 30 minutes the deity moves towards the eastern gopuram and enters the walkway facing east. The Pandi Melam continues there which lasts till 10 PM.

Meanwhile Chatthakkutam Sastha would have assembled with seven decorated elephants at the eastern end of the walkway and started an elaborate Panchari Melam, just after 7:30 PM. Thottippal Bhagavathy accompanies Chatthakkutam Sastha on the adjoining elephant to the left. It lasts until about 10:30 PM. All this time, Arattupuzha Sastha would be waiting at the eastern end of the walkway to return to the Peruvanam temple. Two other Sastha, of Metankulam and Kalleli, join Him at that time. The three ascend the walkway with a Panchari Melam. 

The Pooram of Ammathiruvadi starts from the same eastern side of the walkway, right behind that of Chatthakkutam Sasthat even before that comes to an end. The actual Panchari Melam commences only after that of Chatthakkutam comes to an end. Then, Chatthakkutam Sastha joins Ammathiruvadi on an elephant to the right. The Melam goes even beyond midnight. This is followed by fireworks, lit right in front of the deity on the walkway.

Cherpil Bhagavathy is the last to enter the Peruvanam temple But, the deity would have arrived by midnight, along the road from the temple which is about a mile away, at the turning to the Thayamkulangara Subrahmanya Swamy temple. There a Panchavadyam commences just after 11:30 PM. The procession of three elephants, accompanied by Panchavadyam would slowly move towards the Mekkavu Kali temple. The Panchavadyam comes to an end there before 3 AM. A Pandi Melam starts there and the procession enters the Peruvanam temple through the western Gopuram. The Melam lasts for an hour. 

here is a ritual at that time of asking whether there are any other temples which want to perform a Pooram. Cherpil Bhagavathy is supposed to be the last to perform. Hence, the question. Ayyunnu Bhagavathy would join the procession at this time and the two deities on an elephant each, with other five elephants, move towards the eastern side of the temple. That is where the famous Panchari Melam starts soon after 4 AM. After an hour or so, the procession moves towards the walkway facing east. The melam lasts until about 7 AM in the morning. Viewing the array of seven caparisoned elephants under the rays of the rising sun is a thrilling experience of the Peruvanam Pooram.

Vilakku On Peruvanam Pooram

One of the important attractions of Peruvanam Pooram takes place within the temple of Irattayappan inside Peruvanam temple at midnight. This is relatively an unnoticed event of the night. Eleven of the fourteen deities who do not have their own elaborate Pooram on the night would arrive on elephants while the other Poorams are in progress. 

They all come to the temple, pay homage to the deity of Irattayappan by going around inside the temple yard and then alight from the elephant. The Kolam would then be lead to the Mandapam of Irattayappan where each has specific spot to rest. 

At midnight they all mount their own elephants and form an array outside the western entrance to Irattayappan. The respective oil lamps which lead the deities from their temples to Peruvanam also form an array in front of the elephants. The drummers (Marars) and other supporting percussionists from the respective temples then start an elaborate Panchari Melam. At midnight with no artificial light, the event called a ‘Vilakku’ has a mesmerizing effect.

The festival concludes with a ritual bath at the temple pond, called Thotukulam. Each deity performs the bath immediately after the conclusion of their respective festival rituals.