Thrissur Pooram, celebrated in the Malayalam month of Medom, represents friendly competition between the Thiruambady and Paramekkavu temples, which lead processions of thousands of people, devotees and tourists to Sree Vadakumnathan temple. It may seem that controlling crowds is the biggest challenge at the ‘Pooram of all Poorams', but to the Thiruvambady Devasom, the main effort is in ensuring that the festival is kept traditional.
The Thiruvambady effort is backed by the help of 1,000 volunteers, who contribute their time to various aspects of the celebration. The Devaswom's budget is pegged at Rs 85 lakh. “Ten small temples and two big temples come together for this festival,” says M. Madhavankutty, president of the Thiruvambady Devaswom.
“Preparations for the festivities started about three months ago, and for the fireworks about eight months back. We look forward to a smooth, peaceful event.”
For about 36 hours, Thrissur city becomes a bit of a party ground as the spirit of the festival takes over.
People flood in from neighbouring districts, to be lost in the beats of the rhythmic Panchavadyam, the spectacular fireworks and the display of colourful umbrellas by the Devaswoms. “We will probably have about 35 sets of parasols; including three sets of special ones,” says Mr Madhavankutty. “Each Devasom will have 15 elephants for the main event. Of course, all the rules regarding the treatment of elephants will be strictly adhered to.”
Sticking to tradition seems to be a good formula for keeping things systematic, without compromising on the excitement.