Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thrissur Pooram - Part 4

The city is in jubilant mood since the opening of the Pooram Exhibition, one of the biggest trade Fairs in entire South India, which acts as the first curtain raiser. The tempo starts with the flag hosting and reaches its full spirit couple of days before the Pooram day, when the sample fireworks give us a cute little hint of the oncoming miraculous show. It had once started as a sample testing of the fireworks for any alternation or modification, but slowly, it turned out to be an event attracting very huge crowd.

Both Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady get busy crafting their high-end Parasols, Ornaments, etc, which results in the exhibition of the paraphernalia of elephant decorative, commonly known as the “Aana chamaya pradarshanam”, and this serves as a massive crowd puller in the last few hours before the great fun-filled journey.

Ritually you can add one more t the list of curtain raisers to the pooram. One of the participant temples Nethilakkavu Bhagavathi, presents herself in front of southern gopuram of Vadakunnathan in the early hours of the previous day of the pooram announcing her presence by blowing a conch; and then the gopuram opens and the Devi enters. Moreover, this is the only occasion when the southern gopuram doors are opened in the whole year, and is closed after the glittering Kudamattom. Nethilakkavu bhagavathi pays her respect to lord Vadakumnathan and comes out through western gopuram. There Devi announces the “pooram” by blowing the conch three times at Nilapaduthara (about 50 meters north of the western goupuram). Earlier this ritual was on the eve of “Kovilakathu pooram” which was conducted two days before the pooram.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thrissur Pooram - Part 3

The Pooram is prefixed by a series of startup activities beginning with the “Kodiyettam” or flag hoisting ceremony. It is done without any tantric rituals and the areca nut tree, chipped in 8 sides, is placed pointing north after the “Valiya Balikallu”. The post is decorated with Darba, Mango leaves and Banyan tree leaves. Right from this day till the last, “UtsavaBali” is performed with strict discipline, pouring “havis” (rice with flowers), symbolizing offerings made to the good and bad, natural and supernatural powers. The “Aarattu” is conducted by taking out the “Thidambu” (the replica of the deity) to the “Kadavu” (pond inside the temple compound), accompanied by “Vadhyam”.

The unifying factor of all poorams is this small processional image of the deity, which is placed at the base of a golden shield-like “Kolam” and is mounted atop the tallest male tusker and is flanked by other elephants. After the rituals, the thantri immerses it into the water, applies sandal water, rosewater and turmeric, and dresses it up in a new “Pattu” (silk dress). This ceremony is also to be carried out regularly from the “Kodiyettam”. Since this is a festival associated with the happiness of the harvest season, it’s a usual routine work to get the houses painted and, the streets cleaned and illuminated. It is believed that the God will travel through the streets with all pomp and show to verify the personal well-being of his devotees and in turn, his devotees offer him paddy, fruits, etc as a symbol of happiness and contentment.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thrissur Pooram - Part 2

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. It is a grand assembly of Gods and Goddesses in and around Thrissur. The Ten participants of the Pooram are the Thiruvambady Bhagavathi and Paramekkavu Bhagavathi, Nethilakkavu Bhagavathi, Karamukku Bhagavathi, Ayyanthole Bhagavathi, Laloor Bhagavathi, Choorakkattukavu Bhagavathi, Chembukkavu Bhagavathi, Panamukkumpally Sastha, Kanimangalam Sastha. The processions and rituals of each of these deities follow a very strict itinerary, scheduled in such a way that the tempo of the Pooram celebrations is maintained without any loss of energy.

The legends and myths behind each festival of Kerala are many, varied and equally interesting. Since the word pooram literally means a group or a meeting, it was believed that every year the dynastic gods and goddesses of neighbouring province met together for a day of celebration. This usually happened on the pooram asterism of one of the spring months. The gods and their entourage arrived for the meeting on colourfully decorated tuskers. Even today, the converging of these divine processions at the festival venue is an awe inspiring sight.

Very many stories are told and retold about the origin of Thrissur pooram. It is 200 plus years young and before that the “Arattupuzha pooram” conducted at Arattupuzha, some 14 km away from Vadakunnathan was the biggest temple festival of Kerala. All the temples participating in Thrissur pooram and Kuttanellur pooram were the regular participants of “Arattupuzha pooram”. Once these temples were delayed to attend the festival due to heavy rain or so and then chief of Peruvanam Gramam, known for its Namboodiri supremacy, denied the entry. As an act of reprisal Thrissur Naduvazhi (the chief poojari of Vadakunnathan) and Kuttanellur Naduvazhi started the pooram in Thrissur. Later due to some reasons, the Kuttanellur Naduvazhi disassociated the celebration at Thrissur. Since their withdrawal, the glamour of the pooram was lost and the two Naduvazhies’ began to treat each other as enemies. It was in this juncture the former ruler of Cochin and the very architect of Thrissur, His Highness Ramavarma Raja, popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran (1751-1805 AD) became the Maharaja of Kochi.

As an act of reprisal and also in a bid to assuage their wounded feelings, Sakthan Thampuran unified the 10 temples situated around Vadakunnathan temple who would assemble on the eve to pay obeisance to the presiding deity of Thrissur and took steps to celebrate Thrissur Pooram as a mass festival. He took up the renovation of the Vadakkunnathan temple which was enclosed by high walls. The four massive gopurams of the temple have been ascribed to him. At a time when nobody would have dared to look straight at the almighty Namboodiris, Sakthan Thampuran stripped of their powers and took over the administration of the temple that claimed an antiquity of more than three centuries. It was he who reorganized the annual festival in its present form and made the sprawling Thekkinkadu Maidan the major venue of Thrissur Pooram. Adhering to the medieval Peruvanam tradition, he confined the festival to the temples of Devi (goddess) and Sastha (divine combination of Shiva and Vishnu). Again, he entrusted the onus of holding the festival to the two public temples- Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu temples that had never been under the control of the Namboodiris. He also directed them to extent all support and help to other poorams which are coming from 2 to 10 kms away from Vadakumnathan temple. He ordained two groups – West and East. He named Western group as Thiruvambady, consisting of Kanimangalam, Laloor, Ayyanthole, Nethilakkavu and Thiruvambady temples and the Eastern group Paramekkavu, consisting of Karamukku, Chembukavu. Choorakottukavu, Panamukkamppilly and Paramekkavu. It is attributed that the event management of the whole pooram was chalked out by His Highness Sakthan Thampuran. It is this historical background that determines the course of the Pooram program and it is specifically the ruler's antipathy to the brahmin aristocracy to open Thrissur pooram for the common man.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Thought of writing few words about the cultural excellence of Kerala, or rather India...

Really a special day for people all over the world, irrespective of religion, caste or creed! A worldly celebration, a cultural highlight, a healthy competition, a spectacular event, a colorful memory, a legendary festival, a refreshing season, an enthused arena, a feeling of unity, a summer-time fun, a spellbound sight, the biggest wonder, and what not!

Pooram is an annual festival held in central Kerala, particularly, Thrissur, parts of Palakkad and Malappuram. Most Pooram festivals have at least one ornately decorated elephant being paraded in the procession taken out of the temple precincts. However, there are some, such as Aryankavu Pooram near Shoranur and Machattu Thiruvanikavu Vela near Wadakkanchery that do not use the caparisoned elephant, instead go for stilted mannequins of horses or bullocks. Many such festivals exist like Arattupuzha-Peruvanam Pooram, Nenmara Vallangi Vela, Uthralikkavu Pooram and Chinakkathoor Pooram, but Thrissur Pooram tops the list as an undefeatable contender.

Thrissur Pooram – the most sought after Pooram of all Poorams today, is celebrated annually during the Malayalam calendar month of Medam (mid-April to mid-May in the English calendar) in Thrissur, the cultural capital of the state of Kerala in India. Its unique style attracts large masses of devotees and spectators from all over the world. The nakshtram Pooram marks the day of the festival symbolizing end of a happy harvest season resulting in the largest gathering of mankind. The festival is rich and enjoyable starting with the Kodiyettam in the respective temples, through all the walks till the scintillating mammoth fireworks. The playground of the competition Thekkinkadu Maidanam, the tough rivals Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi, the three picturesque and charming tall Panthals, the magnificent gold caparisoned elephants’ Ezhunallippu, the mighty musical extravaganza of Panchavadyam (an orchestra of five instruments - Timila, Idakka, Maddalam, Ilathalam, and Kombu accompanied by Shangu), the exchange of the ever-artistic parasols Kudamattom, and the silent witness Vadukunnathan temple, each serves as a non-detachable entity of this festive occasion and adds to its grandeur. A noteworthy feature of the pooram festival is the participation of large numbers of people and elephants. The pachyderms emerge out in all their regalia with newly fabricated caparisons. They make their way through the milling crowds drawn from all religions, castes and creed to the accompaniment of ecstatic percussion ensembles. Thrissur town plays host, for 36 hours from the wee hours of the pooram day, to one of the largest collection of people and elephants. The richly decorated elephant, as seen during the Thrissur pooram, is now globally recognized, and its association with Kerala. On the pooram day, fifty or more elephants will pass through the very center of Thrissur town. It is an assemblage of suburban deities before the presiding deity at the Siva temple in down town Thrissur.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Easiest quiz in the world!!!

Q. How long did the Hundred Years War last?
A. 116 years

Q. Which country makes Panama hats?


From which animal do we get cat gut?
A. Sheep and Horses

In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
A. November

What is a camel's hair brush made of?
A. Squirrel fur

The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
A. Dogs

What was King George VI's first name?
A. Albert

What color is a purple finch?
A. Crimson

Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
A. New Zealand

What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?
A. Orange,of course.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Creative meanings.. hahaha

Cigarette: A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end & a fool at the other.

Love affairs: Something like cricket where one-day internationals are more popular than a five-day test.

Marriage: It's an agreement in which a man loses his bachelor degree and a woman gains her master.

Divorce : Future tense of marriage.

Lecture: An art of transferring information from the notes of the lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through "the minds of either".

Conference: The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present.

Compromise : The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece.

Tears: The hydraulic force by which masculine will power is defeated by feminine waterpower.

Dictionary: A place where divorce comes before marriage.

Conference Room: A place where everybody talks, nobody listens & everybody disagrees later on.

Ecstasy: A feeling when you feel you are going to feel a feeling you have never felt before.

Classic: A book, which people praise, but do not read.

Smile: A curve that can set a lot of things straight.

Office: A place where you can relax after your strenuous home life.

Yawn: The only time some married men ever get to open their mouth.

Etc.: A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.

Committee: Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.

Experience: The name men give to their mistakes.

Atom Bomb: An invention to end all inventions.

Philosopher: A fool who torments himself during life, to be spoken of when dead.

Diplomat: A person who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.

Opportunist: A person who starts taking bath if he accidentally falls into a river.

Optimist: A person who while falling from Eiffel Tower says in midway "See I am not injured yet."

Pessimist: A person who says that O is the last letter in ZERO, instead of the first letter in the work OPPORTUNITY.

Miser: A person who lives poor so that he can die rich.

Father: A banker provided by nature.

Criminal: A guy no different from the rest... except that he got caught.

Boss: Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.

Politician: One who shakes your hand before elections and your Confidence after.

Doctor: A person who kills your ills by pills, and kills you with his bills.

Computer Engineer: One who gets paid for reading forward mails.

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