A people's festival

Anna Mathews
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All the activities of the Paramekkavu Devaswom are designed to uphold a dictum: Thrissur Pooram belongs to the people.

Pooram begins at the Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady temples, and culminates on the grounds of the Vadakunnathan temple. The entire town wears a festive look, and people flock in from around the State and beyond to join in the gaiety.

“The Paramekkavu Devaswom strains every nerve to ensure that traditional rites are not tampered with,” says K.K. Menon, the new president of the Paramekkavu Devaswom.

“After all, we cannot change something that was instituted by Shakthan Thampuran more than two centuries ago.”

Preparations for the mega event start a few months in advance, and the work is delegated to different parties, who have worked for Pooram for long.

The Paramekkavu Devasom has set aside Rs 1.1 crore for Pooram. “An event of this scale is possible only through the support of volunteers,” says Mr Menon. About 60 per cent of the money comes from Pooram exhibition and some from devotees. The Devaswom puts in the rest.

“This year, the elephant, Kuttankulangara Arjunan, is expected to bear the thidambu at the main events. For the festivities at night, the elephant, Guruvayoor Nandan, will bear the idol,” Mr. Menon says.

The elephants will be kitted out in brand new attire, from the forehead ornament to the rope and bells, all made especially for Pooram.

So, does the new president feel nervous about hosting such a huge event? “Not at all,” says Mr. Menon.

“I used to be secretary of the Devasom for several years, and apart from that, I started volunteering for services at Pooram as a teenager. We are confident that with people's help and best wishes, the festival will be conducted without a hitch.”

Anna Mathews




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