Monday, May 08, 2006

Trishoor Pooram

Yesterday, Sunday May 7th, was Trishoor Pooram. This may not quite english, but it is semantically correct. Trishoor or Trichur as it is used to be written in english, is the self titled cultural capital of Kerala. Pooram is a day in the malayalam calendar. But in the month of Medam, the pooram day is special for Trishoor. It is on this day, that it hosts one of the grandest spectacle on earth, the Trishoor Pooram festival.

I was born in Trishoor, bang in the middle of pooram time. And also spent most of my summer vacation growing up in Trishoor. The pooram festival started the Thiruvambady temple close to my house. As i grew up, and outgrew the awe of elephants, i was growing to get amazed by the logistics and management of the festival. The different facets, and 'ithigam' (the concept behind a ritual or practice), of the festival also started holding a special fascination for me.

All this till i was 17, and then i havent seen a festival till i was 26, but that was also for a brief 2hrs. I have been thirsting to return since then. I had the oppurtunity to visit Trishoor a couple of times recently and was so happy to show-off the town to my accompanying family (in-laws). The simplicity (which doesnt exist so much anymore) and the temples are the main attraction for me. The most magnificient being the main one, Vadakkunnathan, a temple of siva. Infact the name, Trishoor, is a shortened version of Thiru Siva Perooor (holy abode of Siva).


The pooram festival is a recent introduction to Trishoor, compared the temples themselves. The festival is only 200+ years old, and was started by Shaktan Thampuran, the king of Cochin. The festival is unique, in its access to the people, in line with the spirit in which the king created it. The temples from around Trishoor, were once denied access to another nearby festival, and this prompted the king to host this festival in Trishoor itself, to try and break the brahmin control of these festivals. He invited the temples in the neighbourhood to come and pay obeiance to Siva in the Vadakkunnathan temple. The entire temple was surrounded by a teak (thek), also called the thekkin-kadu-maidanam, which was cleared to create the city of Trishoor.

The main participants of the festival are the temples of Thiruvambady and Parammekavu located right in Trishoor. Apart from these, there are few other temples, who send their to Trishoor as part of the pooram festival. All of them, mostly Devi (goddess parvathi), come and pay respects to the lord at the Vadakkunnathan temple.

Even the temples of Thiruvambady and Parammekavu send their Devi to pay respects to the lord. And then compete to get his favour, by displaying their very best during the festival.

More info on the Thrisoor Pooram:
Trishoor Pooram at Wikipedia
Trishoor pooram
Trishoor Pooram

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