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തൃശ്ശൂർ പൂരം – Thrissur Pooram

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This one is for you Solilo 🙂 I am only sorry that I cannot give you any pictures that I myself have taken 😦 All of the pictures have been sourced from the web, and all of them belong to their owners 🙂

Disclaimer:

For all : This post is way too long, because I wanted to include as much as I could 🙂 and because I simply do not know how to organize :P! Way too many words, and way too much of rambling, so I do hope you will actually understand something. If you do, tell me. If you don’t, please smile nicely, or look the other way 😛 :P!

Here goes:

thr prm

( The iconic picture associated with Thrissur Pooram, which shows the Devi of Paramekkavu Temple-in the background-  being taken out for her procession. 15 elephants, the musicians in front, and a sea of people to welcome her and accompany her!]

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=h&msa=0&msid=114038809751246788218.000440d8cff499fc85a7c&ll=10.526843,76.215742&spn=0.009493,0.013819&z=16

( That is the link to the satellite image of Thrissur, for you to understand the layout 🙂 I do not know how to get the map here 😦 )

An Introduction to Thrissur, for it is necessary to know the geography in order to understand the Pooram 🙂

You see, Thrissur has been rather ingeneously designed and built. The central [now town area] area is actually a sort of rough circular area, around tiny hillock, which, once upn a time was a veritable forest of teak trees, and so was called Thekkinkkad [forest of teaks]. Later, it came to be known as Thekkinkkad Maidanam, after many of the trees were felled or removed for expansion. In the midst of the Thekkinkkad Maidanam sits Lord Shiva, known there as Vaddakkumnnathan [Lord of the North – Vadakku means North, Nathan means Lord]. The area of the Maidanam, in front of the West Gopuram [gate] of the temple, which is the front of the temple, is called the Sreemoolasthaanam, where all the dieties from the different temples come, to pay their respects to the Lord, of Thrissur. In fact Thrissur has been named after Lord Shiva… the full name being Thrishivaperur… the town in the name of Lord Shiva.  Thri Shiva, Lord Shiva; peru, name; uru, town 🙂 To continue with a description of the town, (please also view the map, whose link is given at the top of this post), the Maidanam is encircled by a single road and it is called the Swaraj Round. Much like the Connaught Circus in Delhi, which has radial roads.  The Krishna Temple is down the Shoranur road, north west of the Maidanam, and the Devi Temple is East of the Maidanam. The Devis from both the temples, basically meet at the Sreemoolasthanam. That is the gist of it. Now to the details 🙂

The Thrissur Pooram is celebrated in the first month of the Malayalam Calendar, Medam (മേഡം), on the nakshatram (star), Pooram (പൂരം), every year. The celebrations begin 10 days prior, and end the next day of the pooram.

3 May, 2009.

Starting at dawn and going on for the next 36 hours, Thrissur was the place to be in if you are a pooram fiend, a melam and panchavaadyam maniac, and an elephant ogler. There were many there that day, hundreds and thousands packed into a few kilometres square, defying the sun, the sultry, humid sweltering heat, the noise, the fragrance of Elephant Dung, and pee… :D, and basking in the outpouring of colours, music, and joy at being there, celebrating the Pooram of all Poorams… The Thrissur Pooram (തൃശ്ശൂർ പൂരം).

For all of you who do not know, and those who know about it, here is a gist of it, from an amateur pooram enthusiast. Amateur, because I am still learning much, and doing more each year, to soak in the ambiance, and allow the history and benediction to seep in 🙂 You will understand what I mean, as you read, I hope, with patience, what is bound to be an uncharacteristically long post for me 🙂 Indyeah, I’m learning fast, aren’t I?? Lol. But I digress.

So to basics… What pooram means, and why Thrissur Pooram is touted to be the one beyond which there is no other 🙂 If you have followed the links, you would have found out by now, but I know there are some like me, who like to be told anyway :D!

A Pooram is a temple festival, with caparisoned elephants, processions with music by uniquely fashioned percussion and other instruments like the chenda, maddalam, kombu, elathaalam, thimila, kuzhal etc. The musicians walk along with the elephants, and play the traditional Pandi Melam, Paanchaari Melam, or the Panchavaadyam, according to what the presiding deity is believed to favour 🙂 Poorams are also wonderful ways in which a microcosm of National Integration also actually happens around the temples. It is also the time when the Gods come around for a walkabout with the common man, in his world, and mingle freely to be blessed by the faith they shower upon Him or Her. I have always believed, as the Scriptures say, the God need blessings of man too 🙂

Back to Thrissur Pooram 🙂 This unique festival is believed to be more than 2 centuries old, and was begun by the then ruler of Thrissur, belonging to the Travancore royal family Raja Rama Varma(1751-1805), also known as “Shaktan Thampuran” (ശക്തൻ തമ്പുരാൻ), meaning the ruler with strength. He was understood to be a firm, and stern disciplinarian, who did much to uplift the commoner, improve the economy [by inviting the Portuguese, Syrian christian community to the town, to set up businesses, giving land to them to settle down too!], and ensuring the oppression by the upper caste Brahmans was firmly dealt with. Temple administration, and renovation improved vastly under his rule.

In fact, the Thrissur Pooram actually took shape as a reaction against the denial of processions to the Aarattu puzha pooram, till then the largest pooram, in Kerala, of a couple of temples in Thrissur, citing the reason that they arrived late. An enraged Shaktan Thampuran acted immediately and proactively! He gathered together 8 temples from around Thrissur Kanimangalam, Karamukku, Choorakkattukara, Laloor, Ayyanthole, Neithilakkavu and Chembukkavu, Panamukkampilly, altogether 8 deities.), to participate in the festival, to take place at the gates of the Guardian Deity of Thrissur, the Vadakkumnathan (Lord Shiva), in the presence of the Devis of two other temples, The Thiruvambady (Krishna ) Temple, and the Paramekkavu (Devi) Temples. So we have now, a count of 10 participating temples, all gathering at the presiding Lord Shiva’s temple. The Devis from the Thiruvambady Krishna Temple and the Paramekkavu Devi Temple are the main protagonists of the show 🙂

The Vadakkunnathan Temple:

Vadakkumnathan Temple- Lord Shiva the Presideing Deity of Thrissur :)

Vadakkumnathan Temple- Lord Shiva the Presideing Deity of Thrissur 🙂

The Thiruvambady Temple:

Thiruvambady Lord Krishna Temple

Thiruvambady Lord Krishna Temple 🙂

The Paramekkavu Temple:

The Paramekkav Bhagawaiti Temple :)

The Paramekkav Bhagawaiti Temple 🙂

The festival celebrates the meeting of the Devis who are believed to be sisters, at the abode of Vadakkumnathan. The 8 other temples come with mini poorams (ചെറുപൂരം), on the morning of the festival, to share in the celebration.

More than 60 caprisoned elephants, over 500 musicians, and lakhs of people coming together for a few hours, over a limited area , with fervour, and enjoyment, I know sounds like a recipe for catastrophe, but then that is the beauty of it all –  The meticulous schedule, also devised and planned by Shaktan Thampuran 🙂

Then,  wearing these, the accessories (given below), called aanachamayam, are transformed into the golden, glittering, beautiful caparisoned elephants who gracefully and gladly go around with their precious cargo of deities! From the top row:

The round fans, made from Peacock feathers, and held aloft the elephants’ back while the Melam/ Panchavaadyam takes place: Aalavattom

The fluffy white things hanging down are called Venjaamaram, made from Yak’s fur 🙂 Together they are part of the different stages of the music as it plays.

Aalavattom - Round Peacock feather fans

Aalavattom – Round Peacock feather fans

Atop the elephants, they look like this:

Alavattom and venjamaram, atop the elephants

Alavattom and venjamaram, atop the elephants

The oval golden ornaments: nettipattom, worn on the forehead, of the elephant, along with the alavattom and venjamaram on display the day before the pooram 🙂

Aanachamayam display - the decorative items used on the elephant :)

Aanachamayam display – the decorative items used on the elephant 🙂

 

The Musical Instruments used for the Melam and Panchavaadyam:

Chenda

Chenda

Edakka

Edakka

 

Thimila

Thimila

 

Maddalam

Maddalam Maddalam

 

 

Elathalam

Elathalam

 

 

 

 

Kombu

Kombu

 

Kuzhal

Kuzhal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 days prior to the pooram, there is the formal announcement of the pooram with pomp and revelry in the respective temples, where the flag post is adorned, worshipped and the temple festival flag is hoisted. The celebrations have begun, instantly. And what is unique to Thrissur is that from that day on, the entire pooram enthusiasts take sides, either being part of the Thiruvambady (Krishna ) Temple, or the Paramekkavu (Devi) Temple :) My mother in law, who used to work at the Telephone exchange, used to tell us stories of arguments and fights and cold wars in the office, for those 10 days :) :) All because there is this intense feeling of belonging, each to his or her own Thattakam, or house :) and wanting to be the better one in front of Vadakkunnathan :)

You are now going to witness the Pooram, and to get a feel of it, even though you might not understand what is going on, do watch a few seconds of these clips 🙂

1. The Cheru poorams come, and kick off the show: around 6 am.

On Pooram day, the celebrations are begun by the Cherupooram ( the mini pooram) from Kanimangalam Sastha Temple (Sastha means Ayyapa), which arrives with the diety atop a single elephant, resting a while at the Veliyannur Kolassery Lakshminarasimha Moorthy temple, before paying obescience to Lord Vadakkunnathan (Shiva) at dawn.

Thidambu

Thidambu

Elephant with thidambu

Elephant with thidambu

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thidambu on which the deity is placed, at the base. This is then placed on the elephant, and held from behind as shown in the next picture, usually by a Namboodiri, a priest. Behind him sit the other men, who hold aloft the parasol or umbrella, the fans made of peacock feather called, aalavattom,and the fluffly cottony things, called, venjaamaram.You can see in the videos, how these are held aloft periodically according to the thaalam [the rhythm] of the music that is played. That makes it four people atop each elephant, during the processions.

Thiruvambady thidambu

Thiruvambady thidambu

 

 

 

 

 

This is the thidambu of the Devi of Thiruvambady Krishna Temple (recognized by the peacock feathers adorning the Krishna image on the Thidambu)

 

2. The Ezhunellippu of Thiruvambady, 7 30 am, approx.

Then comes the ezhunellippu   (എഴുനെള്ളിപ്പു്), the preparation to go out, atop the elephant by the Devi of one of the major temples, the Thiruvambady Krishna Temple, at about 7.30 am. The Devi ( whose symbol, or miniature idol, carried on the thidambu) sits atop the central elephant, flanked by two other resplendent tuskers, and they make their way slowly till about 9.30, when they reach Thekke Madhom, the abode of learned scholar sanyasis, who revere and arrange to worship her, and make Her stay with them briefly comfortable!

In the meanwhile, the other 7 mini poorams are all on their way to the central meeting place, called Sreemoolasthaanam, in front of Lord Vadakkunnathan, in Thekkinkkad Maidanam. Glowing, glistening with polished accessories, golden in colour, the nettipattam, on the forehead, the bells around the neck and ankles, the gentle pachyderms carry their precious personages with dignity, and pride, and that something one can just sense 🙂 Each cherupooram, mini pooram, comes before the central deity, pays their respects and leaves with music ringing in the ears. Melams, Panchavaadyams galore. The sounds of enjoyment of the people, louder yet. The waving of hands, in sync with the rhythm of the drumbeats… the kaalams changing, ie the rhythms becoming progressively faster, how can one not get a rush of adrenalin in the excitement?

3. The Madathil Varavu, 11 30 am (മഠത്തിൽ വരവു്)

While the mini poorams are winding their way from different parts of the town to the central deity, the Devi from the Krishan temple is preparing to come out to her beloved Thrissur natives once again, in yet another procession, called the Madhathil Varavu [coming from the Madhom, the place where she rested]. This is much looked forward to item of the day, for the Panchavaadyam (meaning 5 musical instrument: The maddalam, thimila, edakka, elathaalam, and kombu- the first three  being percussion, then cymbals, and finally a sort of curved trumpet)  , performed by over 50 artists, lined up in front of the three caprisoned elephants. The entire performance has been covered live by AIR for years, and of late, in recent years, by Malayalam Channels like Asianet, Surya and Indiavision. In fact these days you can see the entire pooram sitting at home, in Thrissur, thanks to the Local Cable Networks :D! But then, instead of reducing the number out in the heat, I have found only an increase in that sphere 🙂

At 11.30, the Madhathil Varavu starts, with the performance of the panchavaadyam going on under the shade of a massive banyan tree at the end of Pazhaya Nadakkavu (the name of the road). After almost half an hour of playing, the procession starts. Three elephants become 5 when they enter the central area, the Swaraj Round, then 7, 11 and finally 15 , by about 2pm, when the Panchavaadyam stops, and at that same stroke, the Melam, another musical performance, this time with the traditional chenda coming in, starts. You must understand that while the elephants proceed with the procession, there is no break in the musical perfomance, and the artists walk along with their instruments, playing without missing a beat! Superlative do you not think?!

4. The Ezhunellippu of Paramekkavu, 12 15 pm

At about 12.15, in the meanwhile, the Devi of Paramekkavu Temple is gearing up for her ezhunellippu. She comes out of the temple, atop the central elephant, of 15, arrayed in a single line, a stunning sight that one can never tire of, with a row of muscians in front of her, and a sea of humanity waiting for a glimpse and waiting for the procession to start. The stately passage of 15 elephants walking majestically forward till they read Vadakkunnathan, is indeed breathtaking. They enter the temple by the East Gopuram, and come around to stand in front , just inside the West Gopuram of the temple. On Pooram day, anyone can enter the temple, with any kind of outfit, with footwear 🙂

4.1 The Elanjithara Melam, 2 pm

As the other Devi proceeds from outside to the same West Gopuram, there begins another much awaited performance, by the musicians of the Paramekkavu Temple, the Elanjithara Melam. This too has been broadcast live by AIR, for years… Finally the Melam concludes and the pachyderms with the musicians circumambulate Lord Shiva, past the North, East Gopuram and reach the South Gopuram. An interesting fact is that the South Gate is opened only for two days in a year, for the Pooram, and the previous evening, another Devi temple’s deity has formally permitted it to be open (I am not entirely sure of the story behind that one :)). So the elephants, starting with the one carrying the Devi, herself slowly eases out of the long passage of the gopuram, just wide enough and tall enough to allow it, to the greeting to shouts, cheers, and a rumble of sheer joy that errupts the waiting mass of humanity gathered outside, in the Thekkinkkad Maidanam (forest of Teak), waiting to witness the next major item, the Kudamattom (changing ot the umbrellas, or parasols, atop the pachyderms!)

5. The Kudamattom


This is a moment of goosebumps, especially when you see the sea of people outside raising cheering voices, all of them calling out to the Devis, coming into their midst! The 30 elephants, 15 on each side, face each other, at a respectable distance of about 150 metres [approx. :)] and then begins the Kudamattom [the changing of the umbrellas or parasols. ] You will find a glimpse of these in the videos put in here 🙂 This is a sort of competitive event, where the colourful parasols, umbrellas are changed, in response to the other set, on the opposite side. Innovations, and creativity in the types and shapes of umbrellas are always increasing, year by year. This year there were cut outs of Ganesha, and other deities, flowers, peacocks etc. Each of them is terribly expensive , but then there are sponsors for them, mainly the non Hindus. that is what is so wonderful about it all! The way the entire community comes together to celebrate the festival.

Take at look at this pic. and drink in the multitude witnessing the Kudamattom: (Click on the picture to enlarge)

Kudamattam

Kudamattam

The Kudamattom finishes by around 6 30 pm, after which there is a lull in the celebrations, mostly for the reason that people need to recharge for the next session. Lol.

6. The Night Processions

Then at night, around 11 30, there is a procession, similar to the mornings and afternoons, by both temples, when the procession is preceded by people carrying lit torches. A beautiful beautiful sight! People turn out in large numbers for this too!

7. The Fireworks! (വെഡിക്കെട്ടു്)

Finally, the moment of reckoning. That is the moment of fireworks display. Said to the best anywhere in Kerala, because of the intensity of the experience… a small area, surrounded by buildings, people, the Thekkinkkad Maidanam, in front of Vadakkumnathan Temple is the place where the fireworks are laid out. Another competitive item. And it is blasted off at about 3 am, the next day, to be viewed by persons, people, people people around the road, Swaraj Round, atop all the buildings flanking the Round, down all the radial roads, and far as the eye can see, there are people looking up, going oooh and aaah.. and … *sigh* Much as I am against firecrackers and all…. this is one time I forget to feel guilty 🙂 Cant help it, the situation is such!

The fireworks actually begin with one side, either the Paramekkavu or Thiruvambay temple, starting off with small fireworks, then pretty amuttus (അമിട്ടു്), gundus (ഗുണ്ടു്) which are louder, and so on, each of them rising from pits dug in the ground in front of Vadakkunnathan Temple, to the final finishing, as it is called, where you feel, see, and hear in massive explosions, and experience the thrill of it all. A video added below will tell you 🙂

After one side finishes, the other side begins. This is also seen as a very competitive event! By about 5 am, the fireworks display concluded, and the major part of the Pooram is done. Usually, at this point, visitors from other places begin to move out of Thrissur, and buses and trains are jampacked for the next few hours :D!

8. Koodikaazhcha (The final meeting) -കൂടിക്കാഴ്ച

After about 8 am, in the morning, the next day, both the temples bring their Devis, accompanied by their lot of 15 elephants each, and their respective musicians playing the melam and panchavaadyam,  to the Eastern gopuram of Vadakkunnathan, at the Sreemoolasthanam. This is a meeting to formally bid farewell, and promise to meet again, on Pooram Nakshatram, the next Medam month of the new Calendar year. Finally, the two elephants carrying the Thidambu of the Devis, come forward, link their trunks, in  a gesture of undying loyalty and faith, and familial love, after which they part ways, each to its own temple, carrying the precious Devi proudly aloft for all the natives to finally bid them good bye, till next year.

And that, finally is what my brief report on the Thrissur Pooram is all about. Solilo, I wonder if you are now more informed or confounded. But I must tell you that I loved doing the writing, all of it typed into the new post box, researching, and looking out endlessly for pictures and videos. Gave me the pooram feeling once again! So thank you for that!

If you have read up till here, and are still clear headed, an award for patience for you 🙂 🙂 And if you still want more….

Here are  a few more links to look up, if you are interested and have time 🙂

http://www.jocalling.com/2009/05/thrissur-

pooram/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrissur_Pooram

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SscoM5NUV-kTP links


http://12kerala.com/out.php?title=thrissur-pooram-pictures-thrissur-pooram-2009-photos-thrissur-pooram-live-pics-trichur-pooram-wallpapers

http://www.bestindiansites.com/culture/thrissur-pooram.html
On Shakthan Thampuran – Raja Rama Varma (1751-1805)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakthan_Thampuran

http://www.thrissurpooram.com/english.html

Word count: 3226 + 4 :D!

No, actually, 😯 !

And… 🙄 !!!

Pictures are all taken from Google Search – Images 🙂

The next year, 2010 – here (click)

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Author: Usha Pisharody

A rambler, pretends to be a teacher, loves to dream, and go on Quixotic Quests in the Realm of Romance With Life...

43 thoughts on “തൃശ്ശൂർ പൂരം – Thrissur Pooram

  1. Ushus !!I have seen this!:D
    now that I have seen the pics on your post and they are beautiful!I remembered the whole thing 😀
    have seen his procession and ceremony

    will be back to comment later 😀
    and the smileys are soo cute 😀

    You have? Wow! No more words for you then! Come back, do! Later:)!

    (((hugs))muah!:D

    >hugs< to you too 🙂

    Like

  2. Ushus, Where do I start? Thank you. You are the BEST and Sweetest. You took so much pain to write every detail associated with the festival and even stories connected to Trisshur.

    ush: You know, Thrissur is not really my “native” place, as they say, but there is something about this place that makes one feel as if one belongs 🙂 I couldn’t not go into detail 🙂 ! Thank you for the those lovely lovely words 🙂

    I had no idea that Trisshur meant ‘Land of Lord Shiva’. It makes sense now. After all we have the famous Vadakkumnathan kshetram there. I visited that kshtrem only once and fell in love with the serenity. It was almost time for athazha puja (last puja) so very few people yet the temple was in its full glory. Beautiful! I go to temple for peace and love it if the place is quiet.

    ush: Vadakkumnnathan temple is truly like no other. Do you also know that there is a particular way of paying one’s respects to the various little temples within? And a Sanskrit Sloka to recite and remember, for that order! I have been here for years, and still am confused! You re right, there is a serenity here, like no other temple, mainly for it’s vastness, and its unique location. It’s bang in the middle of the town, and yet so quiet!

    You know Ushus for someone who was so interested in knowing Pooram details, I never go to temple when there is Utsavam. I hate chenda sound. It gives me headache.

    ush: Now that is news. 🙂 That you have a problem with the chenda sound. I love it 🙂 In fact my younger son has learnt it, and had his arangetram in it too, the Melam 🙂 But then yes, the crowds … well, that is what a festival is about too! The gathering of a multitude with one feeling in their hearts! Still, out here, you would not find very many women out in the middle, like in, the absolute middle, during the Kudamattom and the Elanjithara Melam; for the other items there are many many women too, who come out and be part of it all!

    This post is one stop for anyone wanting to learn about Thrissur pooram.

    ush: Thanks Solilo 🙂 Actually, if you had not kept asking me, this would not have been done at all 🙂 I loved doing it, even though it took so long. Any error in referencing or in getting any of those stories not entirely right is regretted 🙂 Thank you so much for your patience, and for the glowing words 🙂

    Like

    • Ushus, I don’t know if you remember but I have a slight problem of Enochlophobia mentioned at No: 22 here.

      It is not major but I generally avoid crowded malls and religious places. So I stay back even when there is Utsavam in our family temple.

      Nopes, I have not read it, and somehow I cannot recall that part, about enochlophobia 🙂 Dear me, that is tough, because it means that major crowds are out, na? No way to overcome it?

      And yes, let me add 🙂 The 12 Std results in CBSE are out, Chennai region. Centum pass with good results at our school!

      Hurrah!!!

      Like

      • ((((hugs)))Solilo
        didnt know that 😦

        Ushus hurrah it is!I missed replying to that mail I think so the hurrah comes here! 😀

        Me neither 😦

        Thanks for the Hurrah! I’m still hurrahing :D!

        Like

      • It is not a major problem after all my marriage was a crowded affair. 😀 But mostly when the crowd just rushes in….too much to handle. I won’t actually call it a fear but I really can’t stand it or concentrate.

        Thank God that it really is not as bad as I thought it would be. STill I guess it can be difficult to handle!

        Marriages in Kerala, and anywhere in India, are terribly crowded affairs aren’t they? :D!

        Like

      • Oh! BTW Congratulations to the best teachers we know!

        BTW in Aug’08 I was in Guruvayoor for a wedding but I stayed at hotel and reached the venue only at the time of Maala-exchange to avoid crowd. 🙂

        Thanks for the wishes 🙂

        And, clever girl… timed your entry right then. Guruvayoor, esp. for a wedding can be crowded, and that is putting it very very mildly!

        Like

  3. “This year there were cut outs of Ganesha, and other deities, flowers, peacocks etc. Each of them is terribly expensive , but then there are sponsors for them, mainly the non Hindus. that is what is so wonderful about it all! The way the entire community comes together to celebrate the festival.”

    ush: Absolutely, solilo. Here at Thrissur, during the Pooram, that is what we witness, time and again. Most of the elephants too are owned by Christians. In fact the main elephant of the Thiruvambady Temple is one that was gifted to the temple by a Christian, who is, each year, part of the celebrations!

    Those are the things I like about Kerala. People still celebrate festivals together. Even Snake boats used during Onam boat races are mainly owned by Non-Hindus and everyone participates with same enthusiasm.

    Yes, the snake boats too. Actually, I do not like mentioning the religions at all! The pooram here, in Thrissur makes one feel that oneness. Truly! 🙂 Thanks thanks thanks, Solilo, am glad that you found this one interesting 🙂 🙂

    Like

    • Yes, Solilo, I think in that sense Kerala is truly secular.. The only thing I feel bad is that non-Hindus are not allowed into many temples in Kerala.

      Smitha, I too have a bone to pick with that one. It really is a strange thing, where one can observe high levels of tolerance and acceptance and even the mingling and coming together of different communities and sects, not to mention religion, here, in Kerala, and yet there are these strictures on the entry of non Hindus in temples. Sad, really, and you know the gentleman who gifted the elephant to the Thiruvambady temple, was given a high platform, just outside of the temple walls, to observe and take part in the actual handing over of his elephant [aanaye nadakkiruthal]. But not inside the temple. And still they take part. That is what I love about the Pooram, here in Thrissur. Nothing is a hindrance to its conduct. Nothing, even outdated notions such as these 🙂

      Like

      • Smi, That is one major grouse of mine too. Also, women not allowed in Sabarimala. I have had so many arguments with MCPs on that. Imagine Guruvayoor Yesudas [??] who sings so many bhajans not being allowed in Guruvayoor. So much for literacy! Sad!

        The strikethrough and bold word were correction, if I may, Sol… 🙂 did not want to tamper with the comment that is why 🙂

        Big grouse of mine as well. Education and Literacy, sadly have not rooted out such practices from our “God’s Own Country”!

        Like

        • Exactly! I have had loads of arguments about that too.. Sad.. So much for literacy! I guess, some of the traditions have such a grip on people’s psyches that they find it difficult to let go – literate or not..

          Absolutely, Smitha! It’s all in the minds, and the hands of a few who control the whole darned system!

          Like

  4. OMG !!!

    what is this…????

    Indyeah ke saath reh ke …. yahi hota hai !!!! lol… she will kill me… !!!

    ush: Kuch to seekh liya, na, Indygurl se :P!

    I need to read this… will comment again…

    ush: Certainly, Dhirubhai, do go on and read it as and when you can. And if you find yourself lost, well.. that is occupational hazard, reading this post, and this blog too… 😛 😛 Thank you in anticipation! And for being here! 🙂

    BTW there is some problem.. when you write the post doesnt show up in my reader… and invariably I m late here..

    ush: Better later, also 🙂 Some problem with the updating, I guess!

    Like

    • what???
      😛
      *Indyeah walks away regally *
      vowing never to talk to Dhiren again*err..till the next time he makes a smartie comment that is 😛

      Ushus?dont listen to such people who instigate 😀
      you and I, we will make a team 😀

      We already are, aren’t we?? :D!
      So watch out, Indy baiters.. here we come! Lol.

      Chalo, maaf bhi kar lo, beta 🙂 Unko hum dekh lenge, phir kabhi sahi :P!

      Like

      • awwwww…. “di… i ws just kidding… !! actually the sinister in me some times cant help it… !!!!!

        and ushus… interesting to know bout this … I didnt know much… !!

        Yeah yeah yeah… :P! Excused, on Indy’s behalf :P!

        Glad you found out something, that I hope is worth knowing 🙂 Thanks Dhiren 🙂

        Like

  5. Usha, That was such an amazing account! I have heard so much about Thrissur Pooram – but have never been able to be part of it- have never been in Kerala around that time.. But your account made me feel like I was there.. That was a beautiful accout.. And when you talked about – ‘Usually, at this point, visitors from other places begin to move out of Thrissur, and buses and trains are jampacked for the next few hours !’ I actually felt sad that it ended 😦

    ush: Thank you so much, Smitha. If you felt that way, then my narration at some point did make sense :P! Thanks for all those good words. But seriously, you should make it to the pooram sometime. It’s crowded like hell, and some… and not v comfortable for women if they are alone, but it is an unforgettable experience to just be there, at least on the edges of the happenings. And the heat… oh my..! You soak in it, and it’s scorching, but none of it really matters! I do go on and on, don’t I?? Lol!

    I had no idea about the orgins of the name ‘Thrissur’ either. Thank you so much for writing this – it was fantastic! I plan to go and attend a Thrissur Pooram with my daughter – hopefully once we are back in India – until then will keep coming back to your post 🙂

    By the way. my daughter loved the ‘aanas’ in the videos! She has been going ‘I want to see more more aanas, Amme’ 🙂

    Molunoru umma 🙂 Aane kaanichu tharaam tto! [translated to mean, “Kisses to the little one. And I will show you an elephant” 🙂 🙂 There are more on you tube, but I just chose a couple for the feel of it all!

    Like

    • Molu says thank you and ummas back to Aunty 🙂 I did not need a translation – Malayalam nannayi parayum chaiyum – only thing is that – naturally varunnadu english aane 🙂 And that ‘tto’ is so much similar to the Malayam we speak at home 🙂

      Molu is smart young lady, I am sure 🙂 And the translation was for those who might not get the interaction, and perhaps want to know 🙂 I knew the little one, and her mother would be familiar with the language… 🙂

      It was evident in the “Amme”..:) “tto” is something we use so very often here too!

      Like

  6. Ohh wow. Wide mouthed. 3000+ words! too good. Still read at one go. compliment enough? hehe

    this is one hell of a description of the festival and the culture ma’am. I wonder if anyone can better that. a perfect asset for the state too. I hope they get tech savvy enough to notice and recognize 🙂

    Hehehe… 🙂 Soumya, you actually read it at one go? Wow to that too!!! :P! Yes yes yes.. compliment enough!

    Yes, the Thrissur Pooram is an asset for the state, for they have a lot of foreigners who are given special platforms to view the proceedings, and are taken on caparisoned elephants, though not around Pooram, but another occasion 🙂

    As far as tech savvy is concerned, I guess they have not been able to milk this enough. And I am ok with it too, since I am rather possessive about it :P!

    But to counter point what I had said, perhaps it is them, the foreigners who sometimes imbibe and appreciate, far more, than we ever could! A lesson to learn from that also!

    Thanks for being here, soumya. Means a lot 🙂

    Like

  7. LoL! That is a long post. Started reading BUT not finished it. Too sleepy. Got exam tomorrow, so will come back and read it as soon as exam is over. (That is if I can stay wake after exam is over that is. 😉 Usually exhausted. 😦 ) BUT promise to come back to it asap. 🙂

    🙂 In your time, Badz 🙂 All the best… 🙂

    Like

  8. LOL..yes you are learning fast! 😀

    ush: With teachers like you around, who wouldn’t?? Exemplary too… leading by example, and all… :D!
    Ushus.. seriously… in awe of this post and all the words here…

    awesome!

    Ush: *Dips a curtesy* Thank you kindly, ma’am!!!

    I had no clue about all of this..the ceremony I remember watching as a little girl…ofcourse then I ahd no idea of the significance of it all..only knew that it was a huge festival 🙂
    now as I read your words here… written so gently and with so much of love ..it is just sinking in…

    ush: Gently? Ah! That is so sweet of you to say 🙂 It is a precious festival for me… though it is basically acquired taste too! So you have been witness to this? Or something similar? Glad it brings back memories 🙂

    I too had no clue as to what Thrissur meant 🙂
    now I do so thank you too for that darling teacher for it was enchanting to know the origin 🙂

    ush: I think there is another angle to the story as well… finding out soon 🙂 From my sis in law, here, and then I shall come back with that story too! A pleasure to share that, Indygurl..:)

    I have always and I mean ALWAYS loved the caprisoned (love how this word rolls off my tongue 😀 )
    elephants! 😀
    ALWAYS! mom and dad made sure we saw this on TV too 🙂

    loved the videos all of them but most especially the one about the fireworks 🙂 and the one on the Pooram itself..the first one …
    and the pics?specially the one of the crowd witnessing the Kudamattom? that just left me in awe!
    such a mass of humanity!

    ush: The fireworks are marvellous… and out of this world experience. In fact the whole thing itself. And for those , like Solilo, who have a problem with noises and big gatherings, one can always catch up on it at home, with local cable networks covering every event live, these days!
    Kudamattom, my god, is a sight… the people, and the atmosphere, the melams, the colours, and the Umbrellas..! Beautiful… and awesome, utterly!

    Ushus you ARE a darling, a friend most precious..as Solilo says for, only you and you alone could have gone through so much to write this post for Solilo 🙂

    (((hugs))))

    ush: Thank you too, Indygurl… and it is as much for you and the others, as it is for Solilo 🙂 but she does have prior claim to it, being the instigator, lol! And it ws totally a lot of fun doing it, actually. Glad that you guys wanted it here, and gladder that it came to be! Just for all those K Jo gestures 😛 :P!!!

    thank you also for the links 🙂
    (((hugs)))

    ush: Love you too 🙂 >Hugs<

    Like

  9. Ushus?
    muahh!!!!!
    😀
    Why?
    coz our housewarming gifts are displayed so fondly here that it left me with a warm warm feeling 🙂
    I feel lucky to have met you and SOlilo 🙂
    muah!!ladies:)

    (((hugs))you are the bestest!! 😀

    All the lovely sentiments returned, manifold 🙂 🙂

    Like

  10. Thanks much for the detailed info. on the festival – I didn’t know abut it and loved reading it 🙂

    You’re welcome, and I really enjoyed doing it too! Thank you for reading and sharing in it too!

    Like

  11. LOL @ all the comments, but I am coming back to read this peacefully….

    Do, please 🙂 Though I wonder where you will get the time to sit through this paean 🙂

    Like

  12. Loved ur Post!!!
    Thrissur pooram is one festival that i always wanted to see, bt always missed out at the last moment. I hav heard a lot abt the pooram through my mom, (who happens to b frm thrissur). Most of her childhood stories r filled with pooram visheshamz..
    Bt this post gave me exactly wt thrissur pooram is, i didnt knew the pooram so detaily till nw n to brush up my memories.

    Thank you , thank you 🙂 Glad you know a bit of it, and have been told stories of it 🙂 Hope you do manage to visit and experience one of them at least.. sometime!

    Like

  13. Ushus?
    The glimpse of paradise is just so beautiful too 🙂

    lucky you… to call paradise home as well 🙂

    View of paradise from paradise too 🙂 The gate looks out on the paddy fields in front of my parents’ home 🙂 It ws the monsoon time when that picture was taken 🙂

    Like

  14. great post!!!! I have only been to the festival once 😛
    Thanks for the all the information!!!!! never knew most of it 😉

    My fav is the chenda procession…. nothing in the world can beat it 🙂

    You’ve been to this one? Nice!!

    The chenda procession would be the nada paandi, or the paanchaari melam. Panchavaadyam does not have the chenda… but three other percussion instruments 🙂 Right, the melam does have that effect on one!

    Like

  15. **Warning – Long comment** 🙂

    I must say thank you right away, before I forget in the deluge of words :P!

    Ushus, I found the first bit of the post educational because I didn’t know about the festival and what it represented, etc. The descriptions and the pictures at the beginning, were good because i could understand where thing were and how they looked.

    I really am happy you could, Badz. That was the intention, though I was sure that my rambling would be rather off putting. Thank you for the reassuring comment on the content, and the gen. layout 🙂 🙂

    In the first video, I especially like the drum beat (if I can call it that) because it gives a kind of rhythm to it like the elephants are moving. The music at the beginning reminds me of India in general and like a child and their mischief. I love the umbrellas on the elephants. They are so colourful and to me, it feels like the Gods and Goddesses have come themselves, and the umbrellas are there to protect them from the sun.
    Holding an umbrella aloft, over the head of a person, denotes that the person is a special one. That is why the Lords and even the persons of upper castes here, in olden times, the Namboodiris would venture out only with their umbrella… 🙂 I guess in this case it could be the heat and sun too… 🙂

    The second video again, I love the sound of the drums beating and the trumpets (don’t know what they are called) it feels like the elephants are bringing the Kings and Queens of this kingdom in. True India. 🙂

    Lovely take on the interpretation! Thank you! The trumpets are Kuzhal.. the straight one, and the Kombu, the curved one!

    The third video is short but I liked it. You are trying to give a glimpse on what it’s like. 😀 Again I love the drum beating and the public seems so excited that the world creators have arrived.

    The public is not just excited 😀 They go mad with the enjoyment of it all 🙂 It is more of an experince actually walking along with the elephants and the muscians!

    Ushus, I love the way you’ve described things in such great detail. People like me, who’ve never seen or heard of this celebration/ceremony, get to learn about it and also feel a part of it. And the last two videos are just finishing the experience off.

    Thank you Ushus! It feels like I’ve learnt something new today. 😀

    Thank you too Badz, for sharing your experince of reading it, and being generous in your appraisal of the entire post 🙂 Warms the heart, it does! Thanks a ton!

    Like

    • Ushus. Can I just ask you, Why are there no women present? In the videos, I only saw me. Are women not allow to be there??

      ush: Good question Badz 🙂 Women are allowed everywhere, to participate in almost all festivals, and in temples, except in Sabarimala.

      Here, in this fest. in the videos, the focus is on close ups and the crowds. Very close to the elephants or musicians, you will find men and men only, for the blatant enjoyment they display. Women in a crowd like that, can you imagine, given our Indian way of thinking, and acting, what would happen? And does happen more so, these days, with degrading personal ethics 😦 The response would be very basic 😦 and crude, to put it mildly 😦 So women though they would like to perhaps, do not actually step into the crowd, but remain at a safe distance, and there are lots and lots who do come, but never alone, and never in the midst of a crowd. It is simple safety measures at work!

      Esp. for the Kudamattom, one would find foreigners perched on a specially built platform, and native women, almost none in the middle of the crowd. They would be there, on the edges of it, and on tops of buildings. Even from a distance, the elephants are visible, the parasols too, and the sound of the music just as mesmerizing 🙂 The immediacy of the blow in the belly with the percussion sounds may not be there, but still one can enjoy it to the hilt!

      I wonder if that is a bit clearer now? Thank you for clarifying, because this is one point I did want to add, but did not want the negativity to overshadow the joy of the Pooram 🙂 🙂 The links given at the bottom, some of them, do speak of this aspect of women not being in the crowds.

      Like

      • Yes. I thought that was the reason you can’t see any women.
        Thank you! 🙂

        🙂 Always a pleasure to be asked questions, and to give a reply 🙂

        Like

  16. Sorry for the delay in replying individually, which I so want to do.

    Busy again, and this time, it is the result analysis and stuff 🙂

    Wl be back 🙂 Take care and God Bless!

    Like

  17. Ushus, Just wanted to say that you are the BESTEST. *muah*

    🙂 You are too.. all the more 🙂 Thank you 🙂 🙂

    ((hugs))

    Like

  18. Your warning has been very useful……managed to finish reading in 3 attempts. This is the first time I have heard and read about this. Thank you for a detailed account. A very interesting post.

    JP Sir, three attempts, is it? I guess it is a bit hard on the reader, especially one who is not familiar with the entire event 🙂 Thank you for trying, and managing to finish 🙂 Thank you also for the kind words.

    Like

  19. Very very longgggggggg post Usha… I have read only the half..
    Will be back to read the other half soon 🙂

    Its really a lovely account on what’s happening in thrissur pooram 🙂
    getting in terms with the terms and instruments takes time to understand by my lil brain 🙂

    Kanagu, take your time. Actually it can be very confusing to someone who is new to it, that is why I went into detail, and I guess I have kind of made it a bit more complicated than what it really is, lol!

    And me going on and on! So it’s not your li’l brain that is at fault, it is the rambler and rambling here, actually.. :P! Thanks so much for taking out time and making that attempt 🙂

    Like

  20. Wow, what a piece of monumental work
    it’s as though your fingers have gone berserk
    and to think of all the loads of homework
    maybe there is a historian in the lurk.

    Govind, I just finished replying to you on the other blog, A Quest, and then I came here to find this! A double treat indeed! Thank you for the monumental feeling the note gives me :)! A historian in the lurk? Lol. I don’t think so, but I love reading up and researching, and getting to the nitty gritty of only some things that I like 🙂 The Thrissur Pooram is one of them!

    Thank you, thank you, for your beautiful words!

    Like

  21. Ushus, it was a loooong post, no doubt, but it was well worth the read. As I mentioned to you on twitter too, I’ve always had this desire to witness thrissur pooram at lease once in my life time. Have heard a great deal about it from my Achan. Still do when he goes into his reminiscing mode.

    Knowing the history of Thrissur was an absolute revelation. And reading the whole account of the pooram gave me a virtual feel of being there. I’m going to mail this link to Achan who is an ardent chenda-melam enthusiast. I’m sure he will love reading about it.

    I totally agree with Sols ,it is a one-stop for those wanting to know everything about Thrissur pooram.

    Thank you ever so much for this post,Ushus. Hope you had a memorable pooram this time of the year too. Eagerly waiting for the pics 🙂

    Had a great time, Deeps 🙂 Finally getting some rest now! Have valuation duty, side by side… a full day’s work. So zombie like now 😦 Wl be putting up a post on this year’s Pooram too, soon. With pics taken on the occasion… 🙂
    Thanks for reading it again, Deeps 🙂

    Like

  22. Pingback: തൃശ്ശൂർ പൂരം – Thrissur Pooram, 2010 « Overdrive… :)

  23. Thrissur really seems to be cultural capital of Kerala with so many festivals and events happening throughout the year. It’s fun to watch elephants at Punnathoorkotta…

    Like

  24. Thrissur pooram, festival of festivals. Really nice post.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  25. Hello Ma’am,
    Now that I read this, I just wanted to say, this was a very interesting, informative, wonderful read. 🙂 I learnt a lot of things….My ignorance of the history and culture surrounding this Pooram made me fail to understand the mystique of the Thrissur Pooram, but you’ve cured that for me. Actually, I *think* my parents tried to tell me lots of bits and snippets about the Pooram, and temples, and Keralite history in general, but only about a half of that registered in my mind (half the time I was absorbed in something else)

    Your post has actually made me more eager to go see the Pooram, which I would if I weren’t too lazy. Or if I didn’t hate the crowds. But..under the influence of my very eager father… there is a possibility!

    Also, school is going just fine. Lessons are already well underway. Makes me wonder just how busy all of us will be when the regular classes start!

    Like

    • Malavika, thank you so much! Glad that this was able to jog your interest! I hope you did go and get a feel of it all 🙂

      School, well, this year is going to be quite ‘unexeptionally’ full of everything there is! So fasten your seat belt 🙂 🙂

      Like

  26. Thanks for the link, Usha…
    ‘Thrissur was the place to be in if you are a pooram fiend, a melam and panchavaadyam maniac, and an elephant ogler.’ I am all this:)
    I noticed this too, here, not at Vaikom! I visited the small pooram, which was small time. I have to visit the big one too, one day! ‘ The waving of hands, in sync with the rhythm of the drumbeats… the kaalams changing, ie the rhythms becoming progressively faster, how can one not get a rush of adrenalin in the excitement?’

    Kudamattam video is beautiful, from the start with the backside of the elephants…! So colourful umbrellas…Our country is really unique!

    This is beautiful! I can imagine it: ‘Finally, the two elephants carrying the Thidambu of the Devis, come forward, link their trunks, in a gesture of undying loyalty and faith, and familial love, after which they part ways, each to its own temple, carrying the precious Devi proudly aloft for all the natives to finally bid them good bye, till next year.’

    Enjoyed this post, Usha…felt like I was there with you! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I wrote a post on Vaikom temple’s Seeveli. It hasn’t got the details of the festival, but mainly, the procession. Here, it is: http://maradhimanni.blogspot.in/2012/01/seeveli-elephant-procession-at-vaikom.html

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Absolutely loved reading about a beautiful festival 🙂
    Me being a big fan of those enchanting elephants, loved it even more…love the decorations, the music – everything is so wonderful !
    One day I would like to see it all in person…

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Vishukaineettam (വിഷുക്കൈനീട്ടം ) | A Quest on Overdrive ... :)

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