Thrissur Pooram, the most colorful temple festival of Kerala
is held at Thrissur
in the Malayalam month of Medom (April-May). This two-century-old festival was introduced by the ruler of the erstwhile princely state of
, Shaktan Thampuran, at the Thekkinkadu Maidan.
About fifty beautifully caparisoned elephants go in procession to the Vadakkunathan Temple from the neighbouring Krishna temple at Thiruvambadi and Devi temple at Paramekkavu. In what is believed to be a competition between Krishna and Devi, there is a spectacular display of ornamented parasol exchange on the decorated elephants, complete with ceremonial accessories such as alavattam and venchamaram, to the accompaniment of panchavadyam music played by nearly 200 musicians. There is also a night-long magnificent display of fireworks at the end of Pooram. Popular belief is that Lord Vadakkunnathan judges over the performances of Krishna and Devi, to finally decide the winner. A few days after Pooram, there is also a popular customary exhibition of elephant decorations (Anachamayam).
Apart from the major Pooram, there are smaller Poorams (Cherupoorams) near Vadakkunnathan temple around this time, from neighboring temples, when the other deities are believed to come and pay obeisance to Lord Shiva (Vadakkunnathan). Cherupoorams are conducted by the suburban temples at Kanimangalam, Karamukku, Choorakkattukara, Laloor, Ayyanthole, Neithilakkavu Chembukkavu, and Panamukkampilly.
The Pooram festival is characterised by its unique secular nature. Several thousands of people from all parts of Kerala, belonging to all sections of the society, gather at Thrissur during the festival. This is now a major tourist event as well, and numerous foreign tourists come to Kerala at this time.