Thrissur Pooram

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Thrissur Pooram
Kudamatom at thrissur pooram 2013 7618.JPG

Thrissur Pooram Malayalamതൃശ്ശൂര് പൂരം
Official name Thrissur Pooram (Malayalam:തൃശ്ശൂര് പൂരം)
Type Hindu temple festivalFestival/Public holidays in city of Thrissur
Significance Hindu temple festival
Observances Kudamatam
Ilanjithara Melam
Date Pooram Nakshatra in the Malayalam Calendar month ofMedam
2015 date April 28
2016 date April 17

Thrissur Pooram (Malayalamതൃശ്ശൂര് പൂരം) is an annual Hindu temple festival held in KeralaIndia. It is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year on the Pooram (Malayalamപൂരം, pronounced [puːɾam]) day – the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam. It is the largest and most famous of all Poorams.[1]


Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, leader of ‘Chenda’ group of Paramekkavu temple

Kizhakkoottu Aniyan Marar, leader of ‘Chenda’ group of Thiruvambady temple

Kanimangalam Valiyalukkal Bhagavathi Temple

Illumination of Poora Pandal

Thrissur Pooram was the brain child of Raja Rama Varma or famously known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790–1805). Before the start of Thrissur Pooram, the largest temple festival in Kerala was the one-day festival held at Aarattupuzha knows as Arattupuzha Pooram. Temples in and around City of Thrissur were regular participants. One day because of incessant rains, they were late for the Arattupuzha Pooram and were denied access to the Pooram procession. Felt embarrassed by the denial, the temples went to the Sakthan Thampuran and told their story.

So in 1798, he unified the 10 temples situated around Vadakkunnathan Temple and organised the celebration of Thrissur Pooram as a mass festival. He invited temples with their deities to City of Thrissur to pay obeisance to Lord Vadakkunnathan, the presiding deity of the Vadakkunnathan TempleSakthan Thampuran ordained these temples into two groups, namely “Paramekkavu side” and “Thiruvambady side”. The Paramekkavu side consists of besides “Paramekkavu Bagavathy”, 1) Pookattikkara-Karamukku Baghavathy, 2) Choorakattukara Baghavathy, 3)Chempukkavu Baghavathy, 4) Panemukkumpilly Sastha.

Besides Thiruvambady Sree krishna, the Thiruvambady side is having 1) Ayyanthole Baghavathy 2) Nethilakkavu Baghavathy 3) Laloor bagavathy 4) Kanimangalam Sastha. The Pooram was to be centered around theVadakkunnathan Temple, with all these temples sending their Poorams (the whole procession), to pay obeisance to the Shiva, the presiding deity. The Thampuran is believed to have chalked out the program and the main events of the Thrissur Pooram festival.[2][3][4][5]


Principal participants are Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple. The Paramekkavu temple is situated at Thrissur Swaraj Round and the Thiruvambady temple at Shoranur road. The two temples are hardly 500 metres apart.

Western Group [Thiruvambady side][edit]

Eastern Group [Paramekkavu side][edit]

Flag Hoisting (Kodiyettam)[edit]

The Pooram celebration begins seven days before the main Pooram. It starts with the ceremonial flag hoisting (Kodiyettam) by various participating temples. There will be a ceremonial flag hoisting at Naduvilal and Naikkanal inThrissur City also.The southern gopuram(തെക്കേ ഗോപുരം) opens only on the pooram day[6]

Display of fireworks (First Round)[edit]

The first round of pyrotechnics, known as Sample Vedikettu, happens on the fourth day after the flag hoisting of the Pooram. It is a one-hour show presented by Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devawsoms. Swaraj Round is venue for this fireworks and starts at 7:15 PM in the evening. The display usually have innovative patterns and varieties of fireworks display.[7]

Display of Caparisons[edit]

The golden elephant caparison (Nettipattam), elephant accoutrements (Chamayam), ornamental fan made of peacock feathers (Aalavattom), royal fan (Venchamarom), sacred bells and decorative umbrellas are prepared new by Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devawsoms separately. Paramekkavu Devaswom exhibits this at the Agrasala in Thrissur City and the Thiruvambady Devaswom will display the caparisons at the Church Mission Society High School in Thrissur City on fourth and fifth day before the Pooram. In 2014 and 2015, it was displayed in Kousthubham Hall at Shornur Road[8]

Main Pooram[edit]

The pooram starts at the time of Kanimangalam sasthavu ezhunnellippu in the early morning and followed by the ezhunnellippu of other six temples. One of the major event in Thrissur pooram is “Madathil varavu”- is a panchavadhyam melam, participating more than 200 artists, consists of Thimila, Madhalam, Trumpet, Cymbal and Edakka (Different types of instruments). At 2’ O clock, inside the vadakkumnathan temple starts the famous Ilanjithara melam – a type of melam consists of drum, trumpets, pipe and cymbal.The pooram has a good collection of elephants (more than 50) decorated with nettipattam (decorative golden headdress), strikingly crafted Kolam, decorative bells, ornaments and the umbrellas, venchamaram, and alavattam are awesome and it enrich the beauty of elephants and pooram.At the end of the pooram, after the Ilanjithara melam, both Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi groups enter the temple through the western gate and come out through the southern gate and array themselves, face to face in distant places. The two groups in the presence of melam, exchange colourful and crafted umbrellas competitively at the top of the elephants – called Kudamattom, which is eye catching attraction of the pooram. Later all Poorams conclude at Nilapaduthara near western goupuram of Vadakkunnathan Temple The notable feature of the pooram is its secular nature. All other communities actively participate and make their prominent role in each and every part of the festival. Most of the pandal works are crafted by Muslim community. The materials for the umbrellas for ‘Kudamattom’ are offered by the churches and their members. It is a good sign of secularism which is disintegrating nowadays.[9]

Display of fireworks (Main Round)[edit]

Fireworks are an essential part of almost all events in Kerala .But in Thrissur Pooram, the fire works are distinct in character, performance, excellence and magnitude.It starts at 4.30am and ends after one hour. Both Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu temples compete with each other to provide the crowd with the best and the most unexpected. People come from faraway places to watch this amazing display of pyrotechnics. There are four major firework displays in Thrissur Pooram. The ‘sample fireworks’ on the day before the Pooram, the colorful sparklers that light up the sky (amittu) by both sides on the Pooram evening after the Southward Descent, the most impressive event that mark the peak of Pooram celebrations in the early morning hours, and the final fireworks the following noon after the Goddesses bid farewell to each other that mark the end of Pooram.

Farewell Ceremony[edit]

The seventh day of Pooram is the last day of Pooram.It is otherwise known as “Pakal pooram”(പകല് പൂരം), For the people of Thrissur, Pooram is not only a festival but also a time for hospitality. Upacharam Cholli Piriyal(ഉപചാരം ചൊല്ലി പിരിയല്) (Farewell Ceremony) is last event held at Swaraj RoundThiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple and Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple idols were taken from the Swaraj Round to their respective temples mark the end of the Pooram celebrations. The festival will end with display of fireworks known asPakal Vedikkettu.[10][11]

Cultural Influences[edit]

Despite being a Hindu festival, the Thrissur pooram is attended by different sections of the Kerala society.[12] Several replicas of the festival are held in places within Kerala[13] as well as outside the state.[14][15][16] Thrissur Pooram is considered as one of the greatest gathering in Asia. It has an important place in Tourism map of India, as tourists will definitely enjoy the beauty and traditions of this Pooram. Rail, Bus and air connectivity is also excellent in Thrissur and that attracts many foreign tourist to this greatest event on earth. It is considered as meeting of Devas(ദേവ സംഗമം).You can feel the hospitality and rich heritage of India during Thrissur Pooram.


For the fireworks ceremony, which is held as two parts – a sample one (called Sample Vedikkettu, held one day before the pooram) and the final one, chemicals are used extensively. This has caused several allegations against the organizers for violating the regulations regarding sound pollution. In the past, there were several accidents[citation needed] during the event as well during the manufacture of fireworks chemicals, which has caused the deaths of several people.[17]

Another topic of concern is the use of elephants. Due to the competitive nature of the festival between Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi temples, as well as the presence of cheru poorams elephants are used continuously as well as in large numbers. This has caused elephants to collapse[18] as well as to run amok. This has caused concern among the animal activists as well as the common people. Though the government has issued several guidelines regarding the parading of elephants in the festivals, there are several allegations of them being not observed strictly.[19] In 2015, Pamela Anderson ignited a wide debate as she wrote to Oommen Chandy, the then Chief Minister of Kerala, requesting to use faux elephants for Pooram. She also suggested that the cost be borne by her, if the State decides in her favour.[20] The Chief Minister rejected her appeal as he said cruelty to animals is entirely different from utilizing elephants for festivals and processions.[21]

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