The city of Thrissur is Kerala’s festival hotspot and Pooram – the elephant procession to end all elephant processions – is the festival that outranks all others. Introduced as a spectacle around 200 years ago, it’s an inclusive celebration bringing together Hindus, Muslims and Christians, though it’s mostly about the elephants. Celebrated in temples dedicated to goddesses Durga or Kali held especially in Valluvanadu area and other adjoining parts of north-central Kerala. Most pooram festivals have at least one ornately decorated elephant being paraded in the procession taken out of the temple precincts. Held in the Malayalam month of Medam (April or May).
Vadakkumnatha Temple, Thrissur, India.
Interesting Features of Pooram Festival
- In the main parade, two teams of 15 beautifully caparisoned elephants face off across the temple grounds. On each elephant’s back, a man holds a parasol taller than the elephant itself, while another waves a yak-tail fan like a feather boa.
- As the pandimelam (temple orchestra) plays, the parasols are exchanged among the men standing on the animals. All the while the drums continue to bang through the day, and in the night there’s a pyrotechnic display of elephantine proportions, with fireworks going snap, crackle and pop for up to four hours.
- A melam is a classical performance of different kind of musical instruments that are unique to Kerala and is something akin to the jazz. The most traditional of all melams is called Pandi Melam which is generally performed outside the temple, during the festival. Another kind of melam is called Panchari Melam, which is similar to Pandi Melam going by the kind of instruments, but played inside the temple and following a different rhythmic beat.
- Panchavadyam (pancha in Sanskrit means five) is another classical musical ensemble performed in Kerala. Here, five different kinds of instruments create a breathtaking and fast moving percussion performance.
- Thayambaka is a type of solo chenda performance that developed in the south Indian state of Kerala, in which the main player at the centre improvises rhythmically on the beats of half-a-dozen or a few more chenda and ilathalam players around.
- The main highlight of the festival is harimattom pooram which is on the 7th day of the festival. The main attraction of this pooram is kudamattam and famous pandimellam with the presents of most the famous 10 elephants from Kerala. The one of the most important things is the Harimattom pooram and festival is conducting as per keeping the Kerala tradition, beliefs and culture.
If you are planning a Travel to India in the month of May then enjoy this beautiful Pooram festival of India, it will explore the culture of India for you.