Kerala

Pooram misses its carnivalesque mood

The Ilanjithara Melam led by Peruvanam Kuttan Marar under the Ilanji tree of the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple. K.K. Najeeb   | Photo Credit: K.K.NAJEEB

There were all the usual rituals and events. There were caparisoned elephants, though in limited numbers. Sought-after maestros led the percussion ensembles too. But without the hysteric crowd, revelry, and street vendors, Thrissur Pooram missed its carnivalesque mood.

With their hearts in Thekkinkadu Maidan, pooram lovers on Friday sat at home glued to television screens. This year’s pooram created history by conducting the celebrations without people. COVID-19 spoiled the pooram last year too; there were no festivities or events then.

Police in strength

The city looked deserted. Traffic on Swaraj Round and adjacent roads had been banned for two days. The police erected barricades on roads leading to Swaraj Round. The personnel almost outnumbered people at events, including Madathil Varavu, Ilanjithara Melam, and Kudamattam.

While 50 persons each from the 10 participating temples were allowed at the venues, including percussion artists, more than 2,000 police personnel were deployed in the city.

Caparisoned elephants lining up for Thrissur Pooram, an annual temple festival that attracts lakhs of devotees and tourists, in Kerala on Friday. The celebrations have been restrained this year and crowding has not been allowed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caparisoned elephants lining up for Thrissur Pooram, an annual temple festival that attracts lakhs of devotees and tourists, in Kerala on Friday. The celebrations have been restrained this year and crowding has not been allowed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.   | Photo Credit: K.K. NAJEEB

Even the percussionists were disappointed. “The cheering crowd is our energy. Without them, there was no mood to play,” said percussion artist Machad Kannan after the Madathil Varavu melam.

Rituals as usual

Thrissur Pooram is the meeting of deities of 10 temples in the region. The festivities on Friday began with the arrival of Kanimangalam Sastha by 7.30 a.m. The procession was minimalistic with just one elephant and 50 people. It was followed by processions from the Panamukkumpally Sastha, Karamukku Bhagavathy, Lalur Bhagavathy, Naithilakkavu Bhagavathy, Choorakkatukavu Bhagavathy, Ayyanthole Bhagavathy, and Chembukkavu Karthyayani temples.

Madathil Varavu, in which the idol of Thiruvambadi Bhagavathy is taken from the Thiruvambadi temple to Naduvil Madam at Pazhayanadakkavu, is one of the main events of the pooram. Panchavadyam led by percussion maestro Kongad Madhu during Madathil Varavu is one of the highlights. However, in view of the pandemic, the number of artists was limited to 34. The Thiruvambadi Devaswom paraded only one elephant.

However, the Paramekkavu Devasawom conducted the pooram without limiting its glamour by parading 15 elephants. Procession of Pramekkavu Bhagavathy started around 12.30 p.m.

The Kudamattam ceremony at Thrissur Pooram on Friday. While 15 elephants of the Paramekkavu Devaswom participated in the event, only one elephant was paraded by Thiruvambadi in the wake of a spurt in COVID-19 cases and

The Kudamattam ceremony at Thrissur Pooram on Friday. While 15 elephants of the Paramekkavu Devaswom participated in the event, only one elephant was paraded by Thiruvambadi in the wake of a spurt in COVID-19 cases and   | Photo Credit: K.K.NAJEEB

The Ilanjithra melam of Paramekkavu, led by percussion maestro Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, began at 2.30 p.m. under the Ilanji tree of Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple. Around 250 instrumentalists performed the ensemble in harmony.

Sparse crowd

The Thekkinkadu Maidan witnessed an impoverished crowd, mostly consisting of the police, for the Kudamattom ceremony.

The Thiruvambadi Devaswom did not participate in the event. Paramekkavu displayed its set of umbrellas atop the caparisonsed elephants, while Thiruvambadi paraded only one elephant.

The fireworks, however, will be displayed in full swing on Saturday morning. But without crowd.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 3:02:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/pooram-misses-its-carnivalesque-mood/article34396748.ece

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