ELEPHANT FESTIVAL KERALA – THRISSUR POORAM

The Elephant Festival Kerala or the Kerala Elephant festival is celebrated every year in the month of Medam (Mid April -Mid-May) as per the Malayalam Calendar at Thrissur in the Indian coastal state of Kerala. The next Thrissur Pooram wii be held on 28th April 2015 at the Thekkinkadu Maidanam in Thrissur. This annual festival is referred to as Thrissur Pooram in Thrissur and is regarded as the festival of all festivals in Kerala. Though there are many festivals held in Kerala where elephants are involved in ceremonies and processions but the grandiose scale at which the Thrissur Pooram is held with its large gathering of decorated elephants and the sea of humanity that descends on Thrissur during the Pooram qualifies it to be termed as “The Elephant Festival” of Kerala, an opportunity not to be missed if you are planning to visit India or Kerala during this time of the year.

Almost all temples in Kerala own one or more elephant which are donated by devotees. These Temple elephants are very well looked after and carry the resident temple deity during the annual festivities & processions. These temple elephants are decorated with gold plated Forehead ornament called Nettipattom, and are further adorned with bells and necklaces. The Mahouts and Priests mounted on the elephants hold silk parasols called Muthukuda and sway large white Yak tail whisks called Venchamaram and Large peacock feather fans called Aalavattom to the rhythm of the Panchavadyam.

Thrissur Pooram is the biggest of all Poorams held in Kerala . Thrissur town plays host for 36 hours from the wee hours of the Pooram day to one of the largest gatherings of visitors, devotees and elephants. These richly decorated elephants, as seen during the Thrissur Pooram are now globally recognized as a symbol of Kerala.

The tradition of Thrissur Pooram is only about 200 years old. It was initiated by the then ruler of Cochin, Raja Rama Varma also known as Sakthan Thampuran who decided to break tradition and create a unified venue for the temples belonging to his region to celebrate their Pooram. Sakthan Thampuran unified the temples situated around Vadakkunnathan temple and organized the celebration of Thrissur Pooram as a festival for the masses. These temples were organised into two groups, Western group called Thiruvambady and Eastern group called Paramekkavu. The Pooram was to be centered around the Vadakkunnathan temple, with all these temples sending their processions to pay obeisance to the Shiva, the presiding deity the Vadakkunnathan temple. The fireworks display in the early hours of the next day, rival shows held elsewhere in the world. The entire experience of 36 hours of festivities, colour, paegentry, religious fervour make the Thrissur Pooram or the Elephant festival Kerala a must visit. Cochin is the nearest airport for visitors planning to visit Thrissur for the elephant festival.

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