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One of the grandest spectacles of art and culture in the world- Thrissur Pooram draws mammoth crowd in Kerala 

The elephant pageant is one of the much-loved features of Thrissur Pooram, the massive celebration held in Kerala from April 30 to May 1. Setting the stage for the thrilling festival, artists work diligently to make ornaments worn by the elephants displayed at the Aanachamayam exhibition.

There is a reason why tourists remain excited about witnessing the State’s biggest festival with its spectacular display of pageantry and rituals.

Thrissur Pooram is the most colourful of all the temple festivals of Kerala. It is celebrated in Thrissur at Vadakkunnathan temple in the month of Medam (April). Situated on a hillock right in the centre of the city, the spaciously laid out temple attracts thousands of devotees and tourists around the world during the festival.

Pooram is a magnificent spectacle with night long fireworks, colourful ‘Kudamattom’ (exchange of different types of parasols),  the famous ‘Elanjithara Melam’ and a splendid elephant procession. The best elephants from the various temples in Kerala are send to Trichur to participate in the grand eight day Pooram Festival.

The celebration on the final day commences in the morning with a procession of fifteen elephants marching from Thiruvambadi temple nearby to the Vadukunnathan temple. The main elephant of the group carries the idol of Lord Krishna. At the same time another group of 15 elephants, will start from Paramekavu Bhagavathy temple. This group of thirty decorated elephants stand facing each other in two rows in the Tekkinkadu maidan, the venue of the festival while drums and Nadaswarams (a flute like instrument) create a crescendo of music.

It marks the visit of the deities to Vadakkumnathan Temple atop caparisoned elephants accompanied by grand ensembles of Chenda Melam and Panchavadyam. The spectacular pageantry, grand pyrotechnics and colourful rituals make it an experience unlike any other.

During the iconic Kudamattam ritual, decorated parasols held on top of resplendently ornamented elephants are exchanged swiftly to the rhythmic beat of musical instruments and the cheers of an ecstatic crowd.

Kudamattam is one of the highlights of the cultural extravaganza that is Thrissur Pooram. Brightly coloured, sequined parasols borne by men on elephants are exchanged in tune to swift rhythmic chenda beats. 

This year, the cheers got louder when a cutout of Lionel Messi holding the World Cup was displayed during the ceremony.

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