Thrissur Pooram low-key yet full of cultural fervour

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Thrissur (Kerala), Apr 23 (PTI): Thrissur Pooram, one of the most popular temple festivals in Kerala, was held here on Friday without losing its cultural fervour amid restrictions imposed by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The colourful events, associated with the over 200- year- old festival, were held symbolically as spectators, who were denied entry at the pooram venue --the Thekkinkadu Maidan - enjoyed the parade of richly caparisoned elephants and performance by percussionists through virtual platforms.

Less number of elephants were paraded this time as nine out of 10 temples participating in the pooram toned down the celebrations in the wake of the pandemic.

Besides the main poorams of the two temples-- Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady -- small poorams from nearby temples converged on Thekkinkadu maidan of the Vadakkunnathan temple.

While Paramekkavu Devaswom, a major organiser of the pooram, paraded 15 elephants as usual and symbolically organised the 'kudamattom ceremony' involving swift and rhythmic changing of brightly coloured and sequined parasols, Thiruvambady Devaswom participated in the festival symbolically parading only one elephant.

Ilanjithara melam, another highlight of pooram, was also held with many artistes participating in the traditional orchestra but it missed its colour--absence of thousands of spectators who used to wave their hands in accordance with the rhythm of traditional instruments.

The curtains would fall for this year's pooram in the wee hours of Saturday with a display of fireworks.

Several foreigners used to visit Thrissur to witness pooram celebrations.

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 Kochi.

The edict entrusted two local temples -- Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady -- as the main sponsors of the festivities to be conducted in a competitive spirit.

Last year, the pooram celebrations were held in a low-key manner with just a handful of people and rituals ine the Vadakkunnathan temple amid the COVID-19 lockdown curbs.