THRISSUR: The cultural capital of Kerala has been decked up for Thrissur Pooram - the cultural extravaganza, comprising a riot of colours, music and fireworks.
Come Wednesday, a spectacular array of elephants in gleaming golden caparisons, displaying an array of ornate parasols will mesmerise the swaying crowds. Thousands of percussion lovers will sway with the rising tempo as the orchestrated sequence of chenda reaches its crescendo. The stunning fireworks will add to the magnificence of the pooram. The denizens of Thrissur are eagerly waiting the 36-hour-long celebration of culture, music and gaiety.
Announcing the arrival of pooram, the festival deity of Naithalakkavu Bhagavathy temple was taken on a procession on the celebrated jumbo Thechikottukavu Ramachandran to Vadakkunnathan temple at 8 am on Tuesday. The deity circumambulated the temple and opened the southern gopuram (monumental tower) declaring the start of pooram festivities.
The display of pooram elephant accoutrements of Thiruvambadi Devaswom started at 9.30 am at Kausthabham hall on Tuesday. The display of accoutrements of Paramekkavu Devaswom had begun on Monday. Thousands of pooram lovers thronged the exhibitions to have a close look of the parasols and other decorations.
Arranged in two floors, the 'Aanachamayam' includes parasols and fans that would be displayed atop caparisoned tuskers during the Kudamattom display. While the Paramekkavu side has focussed on parasols, the Thiruvambady side has included all accoutrements. The 100-odd tuskers participating in the pooram were brought to the Thekkinkadu Maidan on Tuesday for a fitness test. The officers from the Forest Department and Veterinary doctors checked and certified the elephants.
Though the Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu sides will have only 15 elephants each, the poorams of eight associate temples will have 9 to 15 elephants each taking the total number of jumbos participating in the pooram to 100. On Wednesday morning, the deity of Kanimangalam Sastha temple will start at 7 am to Vadakkumnathan temple leading the arrival of poorams. This will be followed by other seven associate poorams.
The Madathil procession of Thiruvambady Bhagavathy will start at 8.30 am. After completing poojas, the deity will start for Madathil Varavu escorted by three elephants. As the procession reaches Swaraj Round seven elephants will join and later five more elephants will join taking the total number to 15. At 3 pm Madathil panchavadyam will start at Naykanal and the deity will be taken to Vadakkunnathan temple with the accompaniment of panchavadyam. Konganad Madhu will lead the panchavadyam performance.
The deity of Paramekkavu temple will be taken in procession escorted by 15 elephants and with the accompaniment of Chempada performance at 1 pm. The Paramekkavu deity will reach Ilanjithara on Vadakkumnathan temple premises at 2 pm. This will mark the beginning of the famous Ilanjithara Melam in which 300 percussion artists will participate. Peruvanam Kuttan Marar will lead the performance which will continue till 4.45 pm.
At 5 pm, Paramekkavu side will emerge through the southern gate and line up in front of the Corporation office facing the temple for the Kudamattom. Following this, the Thiruvambady side will line up in front of the southern tower. The Kudamattom will start at 5.30 pm and will continue till 7 pm. Both sides have arranged 65 sets of ornate parasols to add colour to the festival.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will view the Kudamattom from the DTPC pavilion. After the Kudamattom a small fireworks display will be held at the southern tower. After the pooram, the deity of Kanimangalam Sastha will visit the Vadakkumnathan temple again followed by other poorams. At 11 pm, the deities of Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu temples will be taken in procession to Vadakkumnathan temple. As the Paramekkavu side arrives, panchavadyam performance of Paramekkavu side will start. The performance led by Parayakkad Thankappan Marar will continue till 3 am. At 3 pm the jumbos of Thiruvambady side will be taken to Naykanal pandal while the Paramekkavu elephants will line up at Manikandanal. The pooram fireworks will start at 3 am.
3000 cops deployed: Tight security for pooram
In view of the fire accident during sample fireworks on Monday, the police have imposed strict restrictions on the conduct of fireworks. People will not be allowed to enter the Swaraj Round during the fireworks display. As many as 3,000 police officers from the Armed Reserve Police and neighbouring district have been deployed to ensure the smooth conduct of the festival. No parking will be allowed at the Swaraj Round from 5.00 am on Wednesday till the pooram is over.