Arattupuzha Pooram - The grand Pooram of Kerala, India
I always dreamt of visiting and exploring the Pooram festival in Kerala and it always a dream because, despite the oppurtunities I had to visit Thrissur often, I couldn't materialize this. Many people from different parts of Kerala throng the Swaraj ground to witness the grand Pooram every year. The huge crowd and its popularity led me to reconsider my options. But, my goal was to explore the remote villages and witness the festival. So, after extensive ground work, Arattupuzha pooram topped the list since it was one of the most extravagant of all the poorams celebrated in Kerala.. Arattupuzha is a small secluded village in Kerala and is approximately 18 km from the Trissur town and famous for the Shri Shasta temple which stands in a majestic, amidst the vast beautiful paddy field.
On the day before the festival ,we boarded the private bus towards kodungalur to get down in the Uragom bus stop, nearest to Arattupuzha . I had to walk down a kilometer through a small trail to reach the temple and to my surprise, found some interesting activities which caught my attention. I was bit curious and started to enquire about it and came to know that the Tarakkal Pooram was about to commence on that day. After an hour I reached the place and, found a group of people waving and swaying to the beats and tunes of Panchavadhyam. The pooram was in full swing, complete with men atop elephants holding "Muthukudas" (sequined, glittering umbrellas) and "Venchamarams" (white whisks) lined up in a row opposite to the crowd. The white whisks were swayed and held to the Melam (concert). They Keep "Theevetti," - a person with multi parallel branches flamed during the "Melam" (an orchestral extravaganza) that added color and light for the Pooram.
We moved towards the Pooram Parambe, where an array of crackers loaded with gun powder was just about to be lit. It was called the "Vedikettu." Just then we felt something rush towards us, as in a battle field. I was full of awe as I have never experienced something like that. Within minutes the crackers blew up, and it went on without any break The experience was similar to that of a war field. The energy in the air was palpable that you could feel your hearts surge with it. Boom! Dash! And a Boom again. The dazzling fireworks bedazzled the onlookers with the beauty of sparks which were like jewels embellished in the darkness of night.
After this ceremony, 61 elephants that were carrying deities moved towards the paddy field and were lined up before a jubilant crowd. The entire proceedings were accompanied by traditional torches, panchavadyam, nadaswaram, pacharimelam and pandimelam (several percussion and musical instruments). By sunrise on the last day, the elephants with the deities were taken to a river nearby for the Aarattu ceremony. This was a ceremonial cleansing of the deities that was done by immersing the idols in the river. Exquisitely adorned elephants, rhythmic beats, music, chanting, traditional arts and much more made this event even more dazzling. It was an amazing sight to watch and was a display of true Kerala tradition.
Visit Kerala during this festival time and you are sure to be enthralled. Apart from enjoying scenic kerala, you can also experience the spirit of the oldest poorams of Kerala.
When does it happen?
The festival falls in March/April or Meenam month according to Malyalam calendar. The festival is celebrated for seven days.
Thank you Kit Karma for the wonderful support during the trip! Kit Karma is an online platform that provides network for peer to peer support for camera accessories renting. They provided an excellent support system and coordination for picking up and returning the lenses without any trouble. All travel photographers/photographers out there should try and experience it!
All images are copy right protected to Travel tales by Srivatsan and Kit Karma.
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