A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)


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Vishu- വിഷു

Sols and Deeps, this is just for you. I know how much you two love this sort of a thing 🙂 🙂

This is also for my MOM 🙂

Today is special. It is Vishu. It is also my EB’s birthday 🙂 (Elder Brother). Happy birthday to another special Arien, and also to a year, reborn again, bringing with it hope for a better tomorrow.

കൈ നിറയെ കൊന്ന പൂവും, നിറപറയും, നിലവിളക്കും, മനസ്സുനിറയെ സ്നേഹഹവുമായി വിഷുവിനെ വരവേല്‍ക്കാം … 🙂

If you are seeing the above in “????” or a whole lot of little squares, you probably do not have the malayalam font! I’ll just transliterate for you, in English.. “Kai niraye konna poovum, niraparayum, nilavilakkum, manassuniraye snehavumaayi vishuvine varavelkkam ”

Meaning to say:

“With our hands and hearts full of the beauty, and the golden sheen of the konna flowers (cassia fistula, or indian laburnum), the fullness of a nirapara ( a measure of paddy, in golden grain), and the light of a lamp lit on the morning of Vishu, let us welcome it with our hearts full of love…”

A nirapara looks like this 🙂

(Have taken the image from a search engine, and it belongs to flickr.com )

Vishu:

The Kani Konna (- Cassia Fistula, a lot like the laburnum) is the flower of Vishu. Gorgeous chandelier like flowers in the sunshiniest yellow golden, filling the tree, our eyes and our hearts, come Vishu 🙂 It is the key to the Vishu Kani (what you ought to see- kani- the first thing when you open your eyes on Vishu day 🙂 )Here is the tree, at my parents, taken about a week ago… a beautiful sight!

The Vishu Kani, mom’s

The lamp at the nearest end, is called a Maadambi (മാടമ്പി)- It is pretty ancient, a family heirloom,  has a wooden stand, on which is placed the brass lamp. Mom uses it only on special occasions. The nilavilakku is at the far end, on the other side of the uruli (ഉരുളി), the brass basin in which the kani is arranged. The pic above is when she arranged it, and below, when it was time for the kani, at 4 am 🙂

Incidentally, I was tweeted as to why a mirror is placed in the vishukani. I have been told it is because we need to see ouselves, the best in ourselves, to appreciate the Godhead in us, as we prepare to start a new year, with this auspicious sight! It figures then, I think that you need to love yourself, and respect yourself, to be able to see in oneself the Godhead, isn’t it? I like that viewpoint, immensely 🙂 🙂

The chakka (ചക്ക)… jackfruit, is then taken out, after the kani (കണി), and facing eastwards, it is cut 🙂 That is mom doing it the naadan (നാടന്‍), the traditional way with a mazhu (മഴു).. or axe 🙂 And below, the halves arranged, for a few seconds left as it is 🙂 🙂

I am also told, that Vishu begins the cycle of rain patterns, the njattuvela (ഞാറ്റുവേല)… 🙂 Today marks the ashwathy njattuvela (അശ്വതി ഞാറ്റുവേല), and it is likely to rain soon 🙂 Each of the 27 stars has its own pattern, with the rohini, makayiryam, thiruvathira, (രോഹിണി, മകീരം, തിരുവാതിര) bringing in the most amount of rain, which is so essential for the farmers.

Today is also the day when it is most auspicious to sow a few seeds, being the ashwathy njattuvel 🙂 ((അശ്വതി ഞാറ്റുവേല))

*Whew! Wipes sweat off her brow* This has been satisfying, but hard work. Finding a transliteration page to work with, and finally opening the google transliteration malayalam page, to write there, and copy paste the malayalam here. But it seems to be worth it!

Have a wonderful year ahead, everyone!

സര്‍വ ഐശ്വര്യങ്ങള്‍ കൂടിയ വിഷുദിനാശംസകള്‍

സ്നേഹപൂര്‍വ്വം …
ഉഷസ്സ്

Wishing the best of the season, for Vishu, greetings and blessings…

With love

Ushus 🙂

15 April, 2010

Edited to add on 18th April, 2010:

Found this video, of a favourite song , in Malayalam, Kani Kaanum neram (കണി കാണും നേരം കമല നേത്രന്ടെ) on Sindhu’s FB wall 🙂 Thanks Sindhu 🙂 Just to share, because I know those who love this song will certain find it in the right post 🙂

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For My Little One :)

Disclaimer : All the research for this post is certainly non emperical, and based purely on personal observation and bias. Lol. Given that, please go on and read at your own risk. There is a sort of guarantee that you might fall asleep half way (being a rather looong ramble) so please have a cushion ready at the keyboard, where you are likely to topple as you gently fall forward, eyes glazed over. Now that is out of the way, do please continue 🙂

Tag time again, and this one is a special one, for a special person, on a special occasion. The second born of course, after the first one got his place in the virtual sun, here and here 🙂 IHM [again :)] had tagged me on how different the second born has been, and has he wiped the smugness off his parents’ faces 😛! Going back to her post, to revise and review, I came across my comment, part of which I’d like to quote, as a sort of introduction, to me too, a second born, the middle one of three, the ham of the sandwich, as I am so fond of saying!

Aeons ago I had this to write on IHM’s post:

Now that I know, and have been tagged :D , this is going to be interesting! I am a second born, and I am going to write about how my second born is so very much like me :D :D ! A stirrer and shake-up-er! Certainly wiped the smug proud parent look off the parents’ faces :P !

I know that IHM, Shail, recently, and others, Indygurl and Solilo have all done one or other version of the tag, both before and after IHM’s post, and each of them have been beautifully done. Being a second born myself, I have felt the heat, felt different, and weird, and all that jazz, and have often wondered, of late, if the little one too perhaps did. Now I don’t. I know  😀 !

They say first born are…

  • way more angelic… ??? 😀
  • way more responsible 🙂
  • seem to mature faster (they ought to, don’t you think, seeing that they need to make space for the second one in line :P)
  • more accomodating, adaptive..??
  • can be easier to engage, in activities…
  • perhaps better readers, too

These I have garnered from snippets shared on different posts with the same thread.

Going by my own history and what I see being made of my offspring (Gosh! what a thought!) I think these are the observations that I deem noteworthy 🙂

  • First borns are indeed angelic ( go on and gloat, all you FBs..Lol!), though naughtier 😛
  • They’re very friendly and engaging
  • Very easy to care for
  • Not in the least fussy, which however, these days (at home, with my FB) is getting me rather impatient! I do wish my big ‘un would at least change clothes, freshen up when he needs to go out, even if it is with me or his friends :D!
  • They’re voracious readers. He can wade his way through a tome quicker than you can snap his fingers 🙂 I think that has to do with the fact that he had so many story tellers as a child. He was the first grandchild for all his grandparents, and the first baby in the house, for his aunts and uncles too 🙂
  • He’s mature and responsible, yes, but forgetful too 🙂

That is the big ‘un. But then this is about the second born, who has been biding his time; and all that while after the April 12 write for the elder one, I have been waiting to do this for the little one. Though there is this verse, of sorts, intended purely for him, you know one needs to balance well, esp with the kids :)!

So, from Kunju, the elder, and me, this is for you Kunjunni, my little one 🙂

Being a second born myself, I find ever so many commonalities in temperament and thought, that it is sometimes amazing. (At the same time I now sympathize and empathize with my own mother :P)And perhaps because of that we mirror so much of each others’ thoughts, and therefore end up having these absolutely grand arguments and fights, dramatically reacting and over reacting, silent sulks and verbal wars. Not to forget, of course, the fantastic wavelength we are on most times, speaking out each others’ thoughts Too!!

Where do I begin to tell you of him?

An angelic baby (who should have been a daughter, I have said ever so often!) he soon proved to be  truly angelic, determined and single minded when it came to routine, people and activities.

It had been so easy to handle the elder one. He’d go along with anyone and everyone… grandparents, aunts, cousins, neighbours 🙂 and could be kept so easily entertained. Well behaved too, if you dont take into account his fondness for throwing onions and potatoes, and on occasion, the heavy iron out of my parents’ 4th floor apt. in Mumbai :D! Stories fascinated him, and still do 🙂

But, the little one? Oh no Siree! Only his Amma for him, thank you. Everyone else was to keep safe distance, and not even THINK of looking at him, let alone TALK. The very thought! Dear God! His lower lip would jut out, curl downwards, and he’d being with a small wail that grew in volume and intensity! To gloss over… travelling with both of them, on my own, which I had to do often, was no cakewalk :D! Exhausting? Way beyond all that!

It took all of four years for him to permit others to befriend him; till then no other than his immediate family, parents and brother, and maternal grandma were allowed into his hallowed space.

The same little one has a circle of friends too many to count, and all of them from a variety of classes and colleges, and places 🙂

Perhaps, because, with the passing of time, he grew with a charm that seemed to knock people off their perch, while he maintained his space 🙂 I have never figured out how he managed to do that 🙂

He has been a quiet Lion. (Ok he is a Leo too :)) not the loud, and roaring variety; in his pre teens. All of which changed when he finished his Std X. The cub transformed then. Quietly there assumed a young lion whose leadership skills were as astonishing, as they were competent. Other colleagues at my school (where both of them studied, poor things :D) began to wonder at the “smiling baby” who seemed, all of a sudden to have grown up!

Do second borns transform suddenly? I’ve wondered. Growing up in the shadow of a more accomplished sibling (the elder one was a prefect and all that… :)), when they find the sun peeking out at them , after the shadow shifts, do they then bloom?

It seems to have been somewhat similar in my case.  With an extra intelligent, talented, athletic elder brother, who always topped his class, played in the U-19 state cricket team, who was Captain of the NDA cricket team later, it was hard to live up to expectations, though none were voiced 🙂 Once he moved out of home, I guess I changed a lot 🙂 First off, I changed courses at college without my parents knowing. From BSc to BA, later informed my folks, who accepted quite gracefully :D! And then got into every possible activity in school, and freaked out. Literally.

But back to my little one 🙂

Once he began his engineering studies, the change became more pronounced. He came across as more confident, the diffidence of his early years having quite been obliterated 🙂 Right up until yesterday, at the close of day, a succesful day of competitions at their inter branch internal competitions at college, he received so many messages of congratulations on his leadership and for his co ordination.

I wonder again. Do the second borns suddenly change with time, and …. I think so. 🙂 🙂 I did. Mine did.

Second borns… yes

  • They have a mind of their own, and are rather unlikely to change it for anything 🙂
  • They experiment more… avidly; and daringly – hair colours, peircing ears, testing the limits of a parent’s patience 🙂
  • I think they are more creative??
  • Are more emotionally insecure, most times?
  • Seem to always feel the need to prove themselves… 🙂

And this young Lion of mine, I always tell him he is a class apart. He swells with pride. Either way, positive or negative that “class apart” may be, he’s happy not belonging to the herd 😛

He jumps in with both feet, into anything and everything

He also puts both feet in where they should not be, his mouth, a lot 😀 😀 :D!

And then the “sorry” game begins… more to soothe, than to repent 😀

And finally his classic line… all his, though he did appropriate it from “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum”

Parampara, Mom, Parampara

takes the cake!

Lol. It would seem that the kid has suddenly discovered his heritage, which he discovered similarities with the other second born at home. His mother 🙂

And why, you wonder, am I telling you all this today? This lion, hot on the heels of another young Lioness is celebrating his birthday on 3 August.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Kunjunni 🙂

Mr President you rock! (ref. to earlier post, to know why President..Lol!)

With fond wishes, and all our Love

The First Amma

The First Brother

The First Dogs – Chinnu, Kuttan, Appu and Paru

and

The First Cat – Malu

🙂

May you be blessed abundantly. Always.

You certainly are your favourite thought personified.

Leadership is about Action, not Position


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തൃശ്ശൂർ പൂരം – Thrissur Pooram

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)