Thrissur Pooram Festival

A traditional carnival that dates back over 200 years, Thrissur Pooram is the most colorful, the most spectacular, and the most lively festival in Kerala. Attracting over 30,000 people to the Thrissur district annually, the festival has all that one needs to enjoy the exotic feel of this blessed land. August with elephant processions, fireworks, music from percussion instruments, and traditional theatre performance or Pulikali, Pooram is that carnival that will remain a memory to all who experience it.

Thrissur Pooram Festival Celebration

While it is mainly a traditional Hindu festival held with the participation of three main Shiva temples of the district – Thrissur Pooram over the ages has raised above all religious barriers and is known as the festival of the masses. For any onlooker the festival would be an excellent example of mass culture and popular expression of aesthetics.

Thrissur Pooram Festival 2022


Thursday 3rd May 2022


Pooram Nakshathram Starts = 2 May -2022

Pooram Nakshathram Ends = 3 May -2022


History of Thrissur Pooram, the mother of all carnivals, dates back to the glorious times of King Rama Varma (1751 to 1805) known as Sakhthan Thampuran (mighty ruler) who ruled Kochi state. He could be called the architect of the modern city of Thrissur as he took up various renovation works in the place. He renovated Vadakkumnathan temple which has Shiva as a deity. He also cleared the thieves infested forest of Teakwood (Thekkinkadu) which is now the spot where Thrissur Pooram is held. The kind also made Vadakkumnathan Temple, the place of convergence of the Pooram. Born a Kshatriya, he was known to have had severe enmity with Namboothiries of the place and hence made the two temples Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu that had never been under the control of Namboothiries the other two flag bearers of Pooram. It is believed that this 36 hour festival’s blueprint was structure by him.


Three temples after which the place, Thrissur or Thrishivaperur gets its name are the three pillars of this majestic carnival or all carnivals. Vadakkumnathan, Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi temples contribute to the splendor of the festival which usually falls in the Malayalam month, Medam (March-April). This mother of all festivals has two humongous processions(Ezhunnallunnu) dotted with color and peppered with percussion music, from Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu temples converging at the center stage of Vadakkumnatha Kshetram, located right in the heart of the city. The procession brings home the two Bhagavathi or Goddesses from Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu, mounted on two mighty elephants.


Rhythm is the soul of Thrissur Pooram. Without its Panchavadyam, orchestra of five instruments, Pooram would never be complete. Of the five instruments used to create this highly energetic music four, Timila, Maddalam, Ilathalam and Idakka are of the percussion category, the final one which adds to the rhythm, Kombu is a wind instrument. The music which is performed from the midst of a throbbing crowd has a steadily rising tempo coupled with a proportional decrease in the number of beats in the cycle. The performers are cheered by exuberant crowd to play the best beat in the right tempo.

Elephant Pageantry and Kudamaattam

Thrissur Pooram Elephants Parade

Pooram is as much an elephants’ festival as it is peoples. A pageantry where the mightiest, the tallest and the most august elephants of the state are exhibited is a speciality of Thrissur Pooram. Elephants reach Thrissur town much in advance of the Pooram day to participate in it. During the carnival and pageantry, the elephants are seen as decked in the most elaborate of ornaments and parasols. The most striking bit of the show is Kudamattam or change of umbrellas. Elephants of the two temples Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi complete with each other displaying the best of silk umbrellas which their master hoist above them. The temple which has the most colourful and innovative display of umbrellas would win the contest. The teeming crowds who watch on add to the spirit of the event.


Another distinctive cultural performance associated with Pooram is Pulikali. This theatrical performance which enacts the hunt of Tigers by the colonisers encapsulates the real spirit of Pooram which is the festival of the masses. Over 56 teams of Puli Vesham or Tiger performers come from different parts of the town dancing to the rhythm of drum beats. The performers whose bodies are painted to resemble tigers converge at the town center and dance to the tune for over three hours even as the crowd watches on. The best performing team is given an award at the end of the performances.


The concluding session of Pooram is the most enchanting of all – fireworks. There is a spirit of competition even in the display of fireworks during this festival. The fireworks which begin around 3 am last till 6 am on the concluding day. Different teams light up fireworks which vary in colour and sound. The most important of them are Amittu, which blows up into colorful umbrellas in the sky, and Kathina, which bursts with a loud and echoing sound. When the colors of fireworks fade, the festival is thought to have ended only to begin with more fervor in the coming year.

Travel and Stay

If one wants a complete experience of the Thrissur Pooram one should make travel plans well in advance. While the district can be reached on road or rail from Kochi airport at Nedumbassery, the hotel booking will have to be made at least two months in advance of the Pooram. Some of the hotels and small lodges situated around the town centre offer stay along with a special offers of facilities to watch the fireworks from their terrace. Plenty of tour guides, especially those employed by the state tourism department will be able to assist tourists.

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