ELEPHANT FESTIVAL IN KERALA
Location : Thrissur, 83 km north of Kochi
Celebrated At : Thekkinkadu Maidan outside the Vadakkunathan Temple
Major Attraction : Line of beautifully caparisoned elephants, fireworks
When To Go : April to May
Elephant Festival - Thrissur
If you wonder what else you can do beside cruising on the backwaters, getting an ayurvedic massage and messing with the sands, you should reshuffle your thoughts, because aptly you are in God's own country. You will always find something or the other to elevate your spirits - be it mist-clad mountains or handsomely decorated elephants at Thrissur. 'Puram', the most colourful temple festival of Thrissur (or Trichur, as is known locally), attracts thousands of people to witness the grand elephant procession. Apparantly, no celebration in Kerala is complete without an elephant pageant. The gentle pachyderm has been revered a noble position and accorded the privilege of fetching numerous gods and goddesses of this land. Interestingly, many well-to-do families in Kerala, until a few years ago, owned an elephant which was considered as a member of the household.
Considered to be a people's festival, the 'Pooram' is held at the Thekkinkadu Maidan outside the Vadakkunathan Temple in the Malayali month of Medam (April-May). Beautifully caparisoned elephants in two processions representing the Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu temples, compete to create impressive sights and sounds. The celebration eventuates in the early hours of the dawn and continues till the break of the next day. Each group is allowed to perform with a maximum of fifteen elephants and extensive efforts are made by each party to insure the best elephants of South India and the most colourful and artistic cloaks, several kinds of which are raised on the elephants during the display. The commissioning of elephants and parasols is done while maintaining an utmost secrecy by each party to surpass the other. The mammoths decorated with gold ornaments, each ridden with three priests, are a splendid sight to behold. Tourists can crowd at the maidan with their loved ones and see the elephants stand still, ears flapping nonchalantly. Soon a magnificent work of fireplay will enchant you as hundreds of cylindrical drums of the Chenda Melam orchestra rise to a deafning crescendo. The procession of the Thiruvambadi Pooram to the grounds of Vadakkunnatha Temple and back is not only fascinating, but much more than that. Listen to the magical euphony of the 'Panchavadyam', a combination of five percussion and wind instruments, a joy to the ears that is to be felt to be described. The revelry continues all night with the Vadakkunathan Temple act as a backdrop in a blaze of coloured lights.
The Thrissur 'Puram' being one of the most celebrated festivals of this southern state of Kerala, attracts thousands of spectators during the festive time. Special KSRTC buses are also regulated between Thrissur and other destinations like Guruvayur, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Coimbatore, Kozhikode and Trivandrum. The nearest airhead is the Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery, 45 km from Thrissur. One can fly upto there, then get a cab to reach the festive destination. However, if you are planning to come from Ernakulam (79 km) or Trivandrum (275 km), you have to drive on NH 47 that links Salem to Kanyakumari.
Top 5 Highlights of Elephant Festival At Thrissur
Thrissur - The Cultural Capital of Kerala
The Charm of Thrissur Puram
Magnificent Play of Light and Sound
See The Fire In The Sky
Get To Know The Royal Porter
South & Beaches