Celebration of Ilanjithara Melam
The Pandi Melam of Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple is famously known as Ilanjithara Melam. The melam starts at the Ilanjithara in the Vadakkunnathan Temple at around 2.30 PM. It continues for four hours without any break. Tripura Thaalam is the base of the Pandi Melam.
Instruments of Ilanjithara Melam
This percussion assembly is one of the best platforms to showcase one’s dedication towards music. Usually two-hundred twenty-two musical instruments participate in the festival. However due to its importance, more than two-hundred and fifty instrumentalists assemble in the festival. The number of instrumentalists in each category includes 100 Chendas (in Edanthala and Valanthala categories), 75 Elathalams, 21 Kombu and 21 Kurunkuzhal. There are seven types of Melangal which include Panchari, Champa, Chempada, Adantha, Anchadatha, Druvam and Pandy. Adantha Thalam (14 Aksharas) is the Thalam performed in this programme.
Chiefs of Ilanjithara Melam
Ilanjithara Melam is led by a chief. Its present chief is Peruvanam Kuttan Marar who joined Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple team in the year 1977 and later became its leader in the year 1999. He has been the Chief for 13 years and has been associated with Ilanjithara Melam for more than thirty years. Kuzhoor Narayana Marar, another veteran percussionist, was also part of the Paramekkavu team for more than forty years. He has served as its Chief for 12 years. The other musicians who previously served as its chief were Pandaarathil Eachara Marar (1940s), Peruvanam Narayana Marar, Peruvanam Appu Marar (1960s), Thrippekkulam Achutha Marar and Pallavoor Appu Marar.