Pooram is a Malayalam word meaning a festival dedicated to a goddess. And when the word pooram is uttered, the first thought in a Malayali’s mind is the Thrissur Pooram.
With their ridiculously funny tune while speaking, indecipherable slang and wildly eclectic tastes (there are fans associations for elephants), Thrissur, a district in central Kerala is home to some of the most eccentric people in all of Kerala. And it plays host to the Thrissur Pooram, probably the biggest congregation in Kerala after the Makaravilakku day at Sabarimala.
Fireworks, elephant processions, exhibitions, bands (pardon the crude usage but cannot think of an equivalent word in English), drunk people, you name it, the Thrissur Pooram will have it. Despite my mom being from Thrissur, I had not had the opportunity to attend it at all for various reasons, the most important one being that it happens usually in April, which being the month the Delhi government in its infinite wisdom has decided to hold classes.
A short history lesson: The Thrissur Pooram was started by Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Shakthan Thampuran (the strong king). According to the story, temples around Thrissur were not able to ready themselves in time for the Araattupuzha Pooram, the biggest Pooram in Kerala at the time. They got debarred from the festival as a result. Shakthan Thampuran, angry at this, decided to start the mother of all Poorams in Thrissur with the Parmekkavu Bhagawati and Thiruvampadi Bhagawati as the presiding deities. The festival happens annually on the Pooram naalu (star sign) of the Medam month (according to the Malayalam calendar) and is held in the presence of Lord Shiva in the grounds of the Vadakkunnathan temple.
Well how did I finally manage to witness it? I had landed in Thrissur for some bank-related stuff on Friday morning. Having no return tickets for Sunday led me to extend my stay in Kerala for one more day. By a rather fortunate fluke, it was the Thrissur Pooram weekend. Urged on by my grandmom, I went to see the sample vedikkettu (fireworks) that night. I had been hearing about how good the vedikkettu is all my life from my mom. And to be fair, it was an understatement. The sheer power of the sample vedikkettu blew me away. And I was promised by my cousin who was my guide that the actual vedikkettu is even more impressive. My mind was made to see the complete Pooram. The rest as they say is history.
The next part will describe my journey. Keep your eyes peeled folks, if nothing else there are more awesome pics like the below one by @ashwinhari.