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Thrissur Pooram

Thrissur Pooram
Kudamatom at thrissur pooram 2013 7618.JPG
Thrissur Pooram
Official name Thrissur Pooram
Observed by Malayalees, Keralites
Type Hindu temple festival Festival/Public holidays in city of Thrissur
Significance Hindu temple festival
Observances Kudamatam
Ilanjithara Melam
Madathil Varavu (മഠത്തില്‍ വരവ്)
Date Pooram Nakshatra in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam
2016 date April 17
2017 date May 5[1]

Thrissur Pooram is an annual Hindu temple festival held in Kerala, India. It is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year on the Pooram (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.[2]


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 (Lord Siva), the presiding deity of the Vadakkunnathan Temple.


Sakthan Thampuran ordained the temples into two groups, namely "Paramekkavu side" and "Thiruvambady side". These are headed by the principal participants, Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple at Thrissur Swaraj Round and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple at Shoranur road. The two temples are hardly 500 metres apart.

Western Group [Thiruvambady side]

Eastern Group [Paramekkavu side]

The Pooram is centered on the Vadakkunnathan Temple, with all these temples sending their processions 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.[3][4][5][6]

Flag Hoisting

The pooram officially begins from the event of flag hoisting (കൊടിയേറ്റം).


Display of fireworks (First Round)

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.[8] Even though there were several controversaries permission was granted to conduct Thrissur Pooram in 2017[9]

Display of Caparisons

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[10]

Main Pooram

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.[11]

Display of fireworks (Main Round)

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 3 am 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

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 Round. Thiruvambadi 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 as Pakal Vedikkettu.[12][13]

Cultural influences

Despite being a Hindu festival, the Thrissur pooram is attended by different sections of the Kerala society.[14] Several replicas of the festival are held in places within Kerala[15] as well as outside the state.[16][17][18] 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 excellent in Thrissur and that attracts many foreign tourist to the greatest gala on earth. It is considered as meeting of Devas(ദേവ സംഗമം).


There have been several accidents in the past, with injuries from explosion, fire, and the hazardous chemicals used in making fireworks. A week before the 2016 Pooram, 114 people were killed and more than 350 were injured in the blast and fires resulting from an out-of-control display at a Kollam temple. This sparked off heated debates and cast a shadow on the event. The large two-part firework displays have also caused several allegations against the organizers for violating the regulations regarding sound pollution. On April 13, 2016, the Kerala High Court placed a ban on setting off sound-emitting fireworks after sundown.

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[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] The Chief Minister rejected her appeal as he said cruelty to animals is entirely different from utilizing elephants for festivals and processions.[22] The Pooram of 2015 was celebrated in spite of controversies.


  1. ^ "2017 Marathi Calendar Panchang". Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Melton, J. Gordon. Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations Vol. I. ABC-CLIO, 2011, p. 700.
  3. ^ India. Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  4. ^ Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. J. Gordon Melton. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  5. ^ The Indian Encyclopaedia: Biographical, Historical, Religious, Administrative, Ethnological, Commercial and Scientific. Pan Sudari-Presidents. vol. 18, Volume 1. Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd,. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  6. ^ Tourism In India Planning & Development. Asif Iqbal Fazili, S Husain Ashraf. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  7. ^ "Thrissur Pooram festivities begin". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  8. ^ "'Sample vedikettu' lights up skies over Thrissur". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  9. ^ Thrissur Pooram 2017
  10. ^ "Caparisons getting ready for Thrissur Pooram" Check |url= value (help). The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-04-05.  gallery stripmarker in |url= at position 63 (help)
  11. ^ "THRISSUR POORAM - Prologue". Thrissur Pooram Festival. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  12. ^ "Thrissur Pooram ends on a note of panic". Times of India. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  13. ^ "Thrissur Pooram concludes". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  14. ^ "The Mother of All Melas". Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "'Pakal Pooram' held at Mahadevar Temple". 
  16. ^ "People celebrate first-ever 'Delhi Pooram'". 
  17. ^ "Thrissur Pooram in Chennai with 'tech-elephants'". 
  18. ^ "Mumbai Pooram hopes to recreate Kerala temple fest". 
  19. ^ "Elephant collapsed-Thrissur pooram'10". 
  20. ^ "62 injured as elephant runs amok during Thrissur Pooram". 
  21. ^ []
  22. ^ Pamela's appeal rejected by the Chief Minister of Kerala

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