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Enchanting Kerala


ISSUE: 198


Chinakkathoor Pooram

Event date: 28 February 2010

Once you are in Kerala during the festival season, you may exclaim that it is the land of festivals. Kerala is noted for festivals that often would have the mass involvement of people, making it colourful and vibrant.

As the cool months of December and January bids adieu, Kerala slowly wakes up to warmer days. The summer months from March to May also witness the maximum festival occasions, especially those connected to Hindu temples in Kerala. And interestingly, most of these festivals are held at temples that are dedicated to Goddesses than any other form of worship.

As the mercury shoots up, the premises of temples would become abuzz with life. Especially in the rural areas, these temple festivals are a much-awaited annual occasion that would have the involvement of all sections of people. It is also a time, when children enjoy their summer vacation in Kerala and each passing festival brings lots of joy for them, which often adds to their beautiful memories. Most of these festivals are known as poorams or congregation of decorated elephants marked by pageantry and festivities.

This month, we would like to invite your attention to one such festival, held annually at the Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple at Palappuram in Palakkad. This annual festival is locally called as Chinakkathoor Pooram

Palakkad is Kerala's centrally located district and is also one of the major rice granaries of Kerala. The temple is about 5 km from Ottappalam in Palakkad. This is a festival that one would love witnessing.

The highlight of the festivities at Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple is the day-long pooram. So make sure you don't miss it. The pooram day is marked by a grand procession of about thirty-three caparisoned elephants in the evening. The traditional temple percussion ensemble accompanies the elephant pageantry. As part of the pooram celebrations, about sixteen well decorated horse effigies and eight bull effigies are also brought in a procession to the temple by the devotees.

You would also have the opportunity to witness performances of local art forms, which are staged in the festival venue. These art forms comprise Vellattu, Poothanum Thirayum, Aandi vedan, Karivela and Kubhamkali (dancing with pots). Among the art forms, a ritual art form that is bound to captivate your mind is the Tholpavakoothu (shadow puppetry). This is conducted on seventeen evening preceding the pooram day.

Getting there:

Nearest railway station: Ottappalam, about 5 km.
Nearest airport: Coimbatore in neighbouring State of Tamilnadu, about 85 km.

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