Come, feel and soak in the carnival spirit.

The season of the percussion ensembles and the colourful umbrellas is back. Thrissur is all set to celebrate Pooram.

Breaking the monotony of routine life, Pooram brings together people cutting across barriers of religion, caste and communities.

It is the time when the elephants and temples corner glory in the city. Dressed in their best, the caparisoned giants leave the crowds spellbound.

Floral decorations and sparkling lamps enhance the aura of the hoary temples. The deafening beats of the drums lift the spirits of men, women, and children.

Unique in its spectacle, rituals and participation, Thrissur Pooram attracts large masses of devotees and spectators from across the world.

Even the heat and humidity are brushed aside during the season as people throng temples and the Thekkinkadu Maidan.

Pooram owes its present form to Shakthan Thampuran, the architect of modern Thrissur. He unified the 10 temples situated around Sree Vadakunnathan temple and took steps to celebrate Thrissur Pooram as a mass mela.

Over the years, the festival has become a socio-religious event, involving all sections of the people. It now finds a place even in the list of national festivals.

Celebrated in the Malayalam month of Medam (April-May), Thrissur Pooram is considered “a meeting of Gods and Goddesses”.

Accompanied by percussion ensembles, thidambus (idols) of deities are taken on caparisoned tuskers to Sree Vadakkunnathan temple. The convergence of these processions at the festival venue is an awe-inspiring sight.

The main participants in the festival are the deities from Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady temples.

There are eight other minor temples participating in the festival and they are Ayyanthole, Karamukku, Lalur, Neythalakkavu, Choorakkattukara, Chembukkavu, Kanimangalam and Panamukkampilly.

A sea of humanity will witness the splendours of the event at the Thekkinkadu maidna on Pooram day.

Festival enthusiasts will start pouring into the city from early in the morning when the ‘ Madathilekku Varavu', a parade from the Thiruvambady temple, kicks off the 30-hour gala.

The State's most famous socio-religious festival will don a carnival garb, with curious accessories of elephant parades, musical ensembles and pyrotechnic shows. Revellers will pack every street.

It's a prized opportunity to soak up the carnival spirit. Nothing is as delirious as weaving through the ecstatic crowd, jumping in joy when the music reaches a crescendo, waving madly as innumerable ornamental umbrellas get unfurled at sundown, and hooting crazily when pyrotechnic wizards turn the night sky into a riot of colours.

Pooram will have something for everyone. For lovers of traditional music, there will be ensembles such as Panchavadyam, Pandimelam and Ilanjithara Melam helmed by maestros.

The best of the State's traditional ensembles will be performed here.

The Ilanjithara Melam and Thiruvambadi Devaswam's Melam at Sree Moolasthanam are the best platforms for ‘Pandimelam'.

Widely acclaimed, Pandimelam is discrete from other ‘chenda melams'.

The ensemble of each contingent has about 250 musicians playing the chenda, kombu, kuzhal and ilathalam.

The famous ‘Madathil Varavu' ceremony of the Thiruvambadi Devaswom will have the best ‘ Panchavadyam' played in the State. Musicians take pride in performing at Thrissur Pooram.

The religiously inclined can derive joy and peace from joining processions such as ‘Madathil Varavu' bearing figures of deities.

Elephant lovers get to see many majestic tuskers. Thrissur's love for elephants is legendary. In all, 96 elephants will be featured in various ceremonies in the Pooram.

Fifteen elephants each will be exhibited by Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi contingents at ‘Kootti Ezhunnelippu' (parade) and ‘Kudamattom' (display of colourful umbrellas).

The Devaswoms compete with each other to parade the most majestic elephants available. The tuskers emerge in all their regalia with newly fabricated caparisons for the Pooram. They make their way through the milling crowds to the accompaniment of lively percussion ensembles.

Almost all legendary elephants such as Guruvayur Kesavan, Guruvayur Padmanabhan, Chengalloor Ranganathan, Poomulli Sekharan, Paliyam Govindan, Kirangattu Kesavan and Paramekkavu Sree Padmanabhan had been featured in Pooram.

Tuskers Kuttankulangara Arjunan and Thiruvambady Sivasundar are assigned to carry the idols of Paramekkavu Bhagavathy and Thiruvambady Bhagavathy this time.

For fans of fireworks, bursts of sound and colour precede or trail just about every event.Kerala's most colourful festival unfolds at the heart of Thrissur city on May 12. Complete with elephant parades, pyrotechnic shows and musical ensembles, Thrissur Pooram reflects the undying spirit of tradition.

Mini Muringatheri

Pooram is a prized opportunity to soak up the carnival spirit.