Thrissur: The parade of richly caparisoned jumbos, performance of traditional music ensembles and a sea of cheering people marked yet another Thrissur Pooram, billed as the mother of all temple festivals of Kerala, in traditional pomp and glory here Monday.
Unprecedented security arrangements imposed in the wake of the recent Sri Lankan blasts did not deter lakhs of festival buffs, who thronged the sprawling Thekkikadu ground in front of the Vadakkunnatha Temple to have a glimpse of the annual spectacle.
Cutting across religious and age barriers, people clapped and cheered in unison when the parade and face-to-face meeting of 30 caparisoned elephants – 15 each from the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady temples – was held this evening.
‘Kudamattam‘, the change of colourful ornamental silk parasols in quick succession by people mounted atop the elephants, enthralled the spectators. The display of ‘nettipattams‘ (the golden caparisons) ‘venchamaram‘ (ornamental fan made of peacock feathers) and ‘muthukkuda‘ (decorative umbrellas) was a feast to the eyes.
The ‘panchavadyam and pandimelam‘, the traditional music ensembles in front of elephants by an array of percussionists added rhythmic beauty to the annual spectacle. Percussion maestro Peruvanam Kuttan Marar led the ‘Ilanjithara Melam‘, an assembly of percussion performance artists held in front of the Ilanji tree in the premises of Vadakkunnathan Temple.
Controversy over the participation of ‘Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran‘, the state’s tallest tusker, in the Pooram festivities had caused anxiety among festival buffs this year. The district authorities had earlier denied permission to the jumbo to take part in the festivities on health grounds, but later gave the conditional nod after it cleared a fitness test.
Marking the ritual heralding of Pooram, Ramachandran had Sunday pushed open the southern entrance of the shrine amidst thunderous cheers of the people gathered on the temple ground. The two-century-old Thrissur Pooram had its origin in 1798, through a royal edict of the then Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Shakthan Thampuran, a powerful ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Cochin.
The edict entrusted two local temples – Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady – as the main sponsors of the festivities to be conducted in a competitive spirit. Besides the main poorams of the two temples, small poorams from nearby temples converged at the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Vadakkunnathan temple.
The majestic display of fireworks in the wee hours Tuesday would mark the conclusion of this year’s Pooram festivities. Over 3,500 police personnel were deployed in and around Thrissur, the cultural capital of the state, for the smooth conducting of the annual spectacle.