Kerala hosts quite a large number of festivals. But out of the lot, Thrissur Pooram is considered of high importance both by the inhabitants as well as by the tourists. I belonged to Kannur and had been studying at Mangalore. Since some of my friends belonged to Thrissur, we had decided priory that we would be celebrating Pooram at Thrissur this year. In the month of May, we left to Thrissur as a gang that included 8 people. Three of them belonged to Thrishivaperoor and they had been a part of it since they turned 3. That was the spirit of the festival. We had taken the Kannur- Alappuzha express train early in the morning. We reached the destination by 10 in the morning. Even though Pooram was the next day, the Swaraj Round had already been lit by a lot of people mainly coming here with the top Kerala Tour Packages. The street vendors had started their work by selling varieties of things. We had booked a small lodge as the prices of the hotels around Thrissur hike during the Pooram season. Also, nobody really spends a lot of time at hotel rooms if they have come to enjoy the festival. We dropped our bags there and got out to the Temple after freshening up.
Even though Pooram is actually a Hindu Temple Festival, devoid of religious barriers everyone celebrates it with their families. Since past few years, plenty of controversies has arisen regarding the fireworks and the use of elephants for the day. In 2015, a ban had been put on the fireworks by the court but the requests of the authorities and the inhabitants of Thrissur brought it back. But since then, every year, several pleas come up on the same issue every year. We walked through the temple premises after seeking blessings from the Vadakunnathan temple from outside. The major deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. The celebration goes on for 7 days. On the first day, Kodiyettam which is the official flag hosting to the celebrations takes place. On the second day, the sample of fireworks takes place which is done by two major temples here that are Paramekkavu Temple and Thiruvambady Temple. The third and fourth day is when the temples set up Aanachamayam that show cases elephant accouterments on the second day of which we had arrived. When the scorching heat of sun started affecting us, we went to the Bharath hotel for lunch. One would have to wait for some time to have food from any of the restaurants nearby as a huge rush would be there. We had some vegetarian meals and went to the lodge to take rest. By early evening, we got out to go to the Pooram Exhibition. Some people had been doing circus and magic to entertain the people.
Free buttermilk stall had been set up for the tired people. The rush to the exhibition was high where we had to take each step carefully as there were chances that people would trip and fall. People from different parts of India had put their stalls selling their traditional clothes, sandals, and food. We stopped at most of the food shops trying out hot pakoras and chili bhajis. We were quite tired as we got out of the exhibition because we had burned a high amount of calories there. We came to the stall of buttermilk and had enough of it. And then we walked to the Paramekkavu Agrashala where Aanachamayam had been taking place. Most of the people had been resting around the Swaraj round itself. Police had been alert around the whole place as pick-pocketing is usual here.We had tea from a small shop near the Agrashala. The night had fallen and the beautifully illuminated Gopurams were shining amidst the dark. The temples were also decorated with lights. The police had blocked the entrance to the round. Only those vehicles that have a pass were being allowed inside. We walked into the Thekkinkadu Maidanam as the elephants had been standing there munching their treats. Around 30 elephants could be seen here who would be busy for the celebrations tomorrow.
The firework premises had also been set up by the people. As there were restrictions regarding it, only a few dug holes could be seen there. All those who come in affordable and cheap Kerala family tour packages during the time of Pooram would definitely come here as it is the most celebrated festival. I had seen some tourists who were walking around with cameras capturing the moments of the day. On the eastern Gopuram of the temple, some TV show was being hosted where familiar faces from television could be seen. We went to the Ming Palace and got some vegetarian Chinese food for ourselves. The next day we had to leave early to the Thiruvambady temple from where the deities were being taken to the Vadakkunathan temple. On the way, we stop at Paramekkavu too for the same purpose. And then went to the Vadakunnathan temple. Madathil Varavu is celebrated by the Panchavadhyam melam which is one of the most spirited events of the day. Artists get together by playing various instruments like Edakka, Thimila, and Madhalam.
We quickly moved to a restaurant for food as Ilanjithara Melam would start by the 2 in the noon. Also, if you want to save a place in the front, it is necessary to reach as earliest as possible. We gobbled our food and reached the earliest but people had already crowded the place. We met an English couple who had been on their best Kerala honeymoon package from Bangalore. Even though they had come to Alleppey, their tour planners told them about Pooram which they felt like viewing. They wanted a spot to set up their camera as they had been shooting their whole trip. There were several podiums that had been set for the media people. We showed them the way to it. Some people were ready with balloons in their hands which are often used by them to follow the beats of the Melam. There was no wonder that thousands of people flew from varied places to Thrissur to be a part of this. If you get lost in the Melam, you would definitely come again and again to witness the extravaganza here. Everyone, be it, families, bachelors, tourists or children were involved in the drug of Melam. And when it ends, you would wish for more. As the Kudamattom takes place along with it, you would want the animal activists to come and see the joy of every being there. Neither the elephants nor the people are at harm. Everyone graciously embraces the festival. Even though these come to an end, the major firework is what the people wait for. Most of the people do not even go home. They wait peacefully until early morning. Every one rises up as the first firework goes up. The major temples, Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu host the firework in turns. Low-decibel fireworks had been used as per the order. As it ends the people leave to their houses.
As the Kudamattom takes place along with it, you would want the animal activists to come and see the joy of every being there. Neither the elephants nor the people are at harm. Everyone graciously embraces the festival. Even though these come to an end, the major firework is what the people wait for. Most of the people do not even go home. They wait peacefully until early morning. Every one rises up as the first firework goes up. The major temples, Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu host the firework in turns. Low-decibel fireworks had been used as per the order. As it ends the people leave to their houses. The final day which is referred to as Pakal pooram is when certain families come as the crowd would be less. A small firework also takes place in the morning when the idols of the deities are taken to the respective temples. We had to return back to Mangalore in the morning as we had class. With the hope of coming again to this auspicious festival, all of us left back happy.