(Last Updated on : 19-03-2014)
Arattupuzha Pooram is a traditional festival celebrated in the Arattupuzha village situated in Thrissur district
. This annual festival is held in the month of March and is characterized by fun and grandeur. The Sree Sastha temple of the village, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa forms the venue of this festival. The temple is famed for its antiquity and is believed to be about 3000 years old. Arattupuzha Pooram lasts for seven days and is also known as Devamela or a conclave. Local beliefs say that all Gods and Goddesses congregate in the temple during this festival. This festival is also known as the mother of all Pooram festivals in Kerala.
During Arattupuzha Pooram a sea of devotees and tourists hailing from distant regions visit the village to be a part of the celebrations. The final two days of the festival forms the main attraction and focus of enjoyment. A ceremony called Sasthavinte Melam is observed on the sixth day of the festival in which about 61 caparisoned elephants
are gathered along with several percussion instruments
. Each of the >elephant is then festooned and embellished with silk umbrella called Muthukkudas and white tufts called Venchamarams. During the late evening a spectacular view of the illuminated village with burning staffs called Theevetti and traditional lamps can be witnessed. By 7 in the evening, a procession of elephants begins which continues up to early morning hours. Arattupuzha Pooram creates an exhilarating ambience which is thoroughly enjoyed by huge crowd.
Some of the elephants in the procession carry deities of nearby temples which were assembled at Sree Sastha temple during the festivals. They assemble at the paddy field where they are lined up forming a splendid view before the cheering and vivacious crowd. These elephants then proceed to the nearby river for the conduction of another ceremony named Aarattu. This ceremony is marked by immersing of all the idols in the river accompanied by holy chanting. During this entire ceremony traditional torches are kept enlightened and it is also accompanied by musical and percussion instruments such as Pandimelam, Pacharimelam, Nadaswaram and Panchavadyam
. The rhythmic beats and tempo of these instruments creates an enchanting aura during Arattupuzha Pooram.