The Thrissur Pooram is one of the most spectacular festivals in the world. In terms of visual splendour, the grand assembly of caparisoned elephants, amazing pyrotechnic displays, spellbinding ensembles of percussion instruments and enthusiastic crowds, there is no match for it. One canít find a festive gathering and celebration on such a scale anywhere else.
The Thrissur Pooram is considered to be the Mother of all Poorams, a culture highlight that towers above all other festivals .Thrissur pooram is a festival unique in its pageantry, magnitude and participation. It is not a mere temple festival in its strict sense but at the same time it is the festival of festivals of Kerala.
SREE VADAKKUMNATHAN TEMPLE- AN ARTISTIC MARVEL
One of the largest temple complexes in South India is a classical example of rich Kerala temple Architecture. The main temple complex is spread over nine acres on a small hillock encircled by 64 acre Thekkinkadu maidan. The 4 gopurams (magnificent gateways) beautifully carved out of wooden pillars and wooden bracket figures and the towering " pallamathils" ( boundary walls of laterite built in the shape of elephants belly) are imposing piece of skill and taste. The rare architectural techniques adopted are the mixture of many rituals, geometry, iconography, astrology, vastusastra, tantra sastra and murals with organic pigments. Most of the other temples in Kerala show one or more of these features but in Vadakkumnathan it is near to perfection and so it is unique.
It is believed that 33 crore devathas of Hindu mythology will be present on the pooram day. However few spaces are left for some deities with or with out temples in this complex. While entering there is stone "KALI" and there is Gosalakrishna, the naked Rishaba, Lord Parsurama, Dharma Sasatha, Naga raja with Nagayakshi (the serpent gods – which is the oldest form of god worship in Kerala) Sreechakra and Vettekkaran are the places to be worshipped. There are specified points where the devotees can offer their salutations to Lord Siva at Kasi, Lord Chidabharanatha at Chidambaram, Lord Siva atRameswaram, Sree Kali of Kodungallore, Ammathiruvadi of Oorakam, Lord Bharatha of Koodalmanickam, Sree Vyasa. The main enclosure covered with walls and Vilakkumadam is a multi –shrine. There are 4 shrines dedicated to 5 devathas. The complex is said to have been built by Lord Prasurama. It is believed that The Amsaavathara (Partial incarnation) of Parsurama the Adi Sankara was born after his parents, who were childless for years, prayed at this temple. Legend also has it Sankara school of worship – Panchadevatha (five gods) - is followed here. Lord Shiva facing west and withParvathy facing east, Vigneswara, Sankara Narayana, and Sree Rama are other shrines. Lord Vigneswara shrine is calledvenmadacoil. The devotees revere elephants as Lord Ganesh incarnate. It has been the regular annual practice at theVadakkunnathan Temple for the last 20 years to conduct a large-scale Ashta Dravya Maha Ganapathy Havana andAanayoottu (ceremonial feeding of elephants) on the 1st day of karkidakom month as per the malayalam calendar. "Gajapooja" also is conducted once in four years. The Sankaranarayana ( a combination saiva -vaishnava - the right side of Sivawith left side of Vishnu) shrine, which is a double storied round coil, has beautiful 17th century murals delineating graphically the story of "Mahabharata"
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