History of Thrissur Pooram
Sakthan Thampuran or Raja Rama Varma, the Maharaja of Cochin had conceptualised Thrissur Pooram. Prior to the commencement of Thrissur Pooram, the grandest festival of Kerala used to be the 'Arattupuzha Pooram' festival held at Arattupuzha for a single day. The temples located in the neighbourhood of Thrissur city regularly participated in Arattupuzha Pooram. However, once they were late for the festival and consequently not permitted entry into the Pooram procession. Deeply embarrassed, they proceeded to the Sakthan Thampuran and narrated their plight.
Thereafter, Sakthan Thampuran started observing the festival as a 'mass festive event' and united the 10 temples existent close to Vadakkunathan Temple in the year 1798. He invited the temples along with their deities to Thrissur in order to pay their respects to Lord Vadakkunnathan, the presiding God of Vadakkunnathan Temple. The temples were then classified into two groups named as Eastern Group and the Western Group. Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple is the name of the Eastern Group which also includes Choorakottukavu, Chembukavu, Karamukku, Panamukkamppilly and the Paramekkavu Temples. The Western Group has been termed as the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple which consists of Nethilakkavu, Ayyanthole, Laloor and Kanimangalam Temples.
Vadakkunnathan Temple was the nerve-centre of the Pooram and all the temples had sent their Poorams to pay reverence to Lord Shiva, the main deity of Vadakkunnathan Temple. It is said that the features of Thrissur Pooram have been planned by the Thampuran.
Rituals of Thrissur Pooram
Various attractive festivities are arranged in Thrissur Pooram which consists of the Flag Hoisting Ceremony or 'Kodiyettam', display of fireworks, display of caparisons or 'Nettipattam', main Pooram and eventually the farewell ceremony. The celebrations for Pooram commences about seven days prior to Pooram, started by Kodiyettam by the temples which take part in the festival. A flag hoisting event is also observed at Naikkanal and Naduvilal, besides Thrissur. 'Sample Vedikettu' is the first round of the display of fireworks that is conducted on the fourth day of Thrissur Pooram and is a one-hour show performed by Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi Devaswoms. This event is carried out in Swaraj Round and is complete with numerous kinds of fireworks.
The main highlight of Thrissur Pooram is Nettipattam or the golden elephant caparison which is adorned with colourful umbrellas, 'Venchamarom' or royal fan, 'Chamayam' or elephant accoutrements, 'Aalavattom' or decorative fan of Peacock feathers and sacred bells. All such ornamentations are created by Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady Devaswoms. During the sixth day, the main Pooram begins following the hoisting of the flag and the Kanimangalam Sastha Temple enters the Vadakkunnathan Temple. The other temples which follows suit are the Panamukkumpally Sastha Temple, Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple and Chembukkavu Bhagavathy Temple. The beautiful display of fireworks occurs on the seventh day following the flag-hoisting. It is conducted around 3 am at Swaraj Round in Thrissur and concludes at 6 am. The 'Upacharam Cholli' is celebrated during the seventh day of Pooram and is the farewell ceremony which takes place at Swaraj Round. The idols were seized from Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple and ushered into their own temples thereby announcing the conclusion of Pooram festivities. 'Pakal Vedikkettu' is the name of the ending display of fireworks at the end of Thrissur Pooram.
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