Have you ever imagined about a festival where human beings would not be on the forefront but it would be all about animals? Welcome to the festival where human beings take a backseat and elephant's are the showstoppers. Thrissur city in Kerala is home to the mother of all Elephant processions, Thrissur Pooram. Kerala is known for its temple festivals and also for its love for the elephant which occupies pride of place as the state animal. Elephant pageantry is mandatory for all major auspicious festivals across Kerala. The presence of at least one caparisoned elephant is a common sight. Native Planet brings you a guide to the best elephant festival in town. This year the festival starts from May 9, so if you haven't planned yet, do go down south and have some fun of elephantine proportions.
Thrissur Pooram was started some 200 years ago by the then ruler of Thrissur as a festival to unify temple factions. It is held every year at the Vadakkunathan temple where temples are invited with their deities to pay their respects to the presiding deity, Lord Vadakkunathan, at the Vadakkunathan temple.
Pic Credit: Brian Holsclaw
The Participating Temples
The participating temples are divided into two groups called the Western group and the Eastern group.The Pooram celebrations begins seven days before the main Pooram. Ceremonial flag hoisting is done by the participating groups.
Pic Credit:Brian Holsclaw
The display of parasols, held aloft the elephants' backs, is a sight to behold which is also accompanied by an ornamental fan made of peacock feathers and other decorated umbrellas. Also watch out for Kudamattom, a competition which involves swiftly changing the parasols held aloft the elephants.
Pic credit: Wiki Commons
Drums of Devotion
While drum beats echo throughout the day also keep an ear and eye open for Illanjitharamelam, a percussion ensemble featuring about 250 artists. At night there is a firework display of elephantine proportions.
Pic Credit: Wiki Commons
Drummers of God
The main fireworks happen on the seventh day after the flag hoisting.
Pic Credit: Challiyil Eswaramangalath Pavithran Vipin
Apart from the procession also take out time to look at the Vadakkunathan temple which is one of the oldest temples in Kerala. Check out the 200 year old Sakthan Thampuran palace and the archaeological museum inside it. Note: It is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Pic Credit: Wiki Commons