Begun by Raja Rama Varma in 1798, Thrissur Pooram is one of the most popular festivals in Kerala. It is centered around the Vadakkunnathan Temple, with a group of temples from the vicinity sending their processions to pay obeisance to Shiva, the main deity.
One of the most popular elements is the procession of elephants, each decked out in a golden headdress, bells and ornaments. The elephants are led as two groups, and the men sitting atop them engage in a ritual exchange of colorful and crafted umbrellas.
Another famed element is the panchavadhyam melam, in which more than 200 artists play percussion instruments, drums, trumpets and cymbals. The grand display fireworks are also much looked forward to.
Interestingly, people from all religions and communities actively participate in the Pooram – most of the pandals or canopies are crafted by Muslims, while the materials for the decorative umbrellas are offered by churches.
To reflect upon
How do communities come together and work in unity in-spite of differences in religious beliefs?