It seemed like the whole village had come for the Pooram. The energy was palpable and the small strip of land outside the temple complex was brimming with people swaying to the beats of the Panchari Melam.
Having reached a little after 4.30 in the evening, the musical ensemble was progressing towards the crescendo. About 25 artists each in two rows facing the other 25 were playing percussion instruments. Every 15 minutes the troop takes a few steps towards the temple and stops .For the next hour or so the place was reverberating with a certain rhythm that felt unique to this temple festival.
The five elephants were standing patiently, big ears flapping, decorated with their nettipattam (golden headdress), decorative bells and ornaments, palm leaves,peacock feathers and beautifully crafted kolam (paintings). By 7pm they were inside the temple complex , the walls lit by innumerable lamps , a mesmerizing sight indeed. Glitzy fireworks from the nearby fields continued intermittently.
The Pooram in Kerala is an annual temple festival dedicated to the Goddesses. Amongst these, the Peruvanam Pooram that I was witnessing now is considered to be a very significant event held here for many decades, perhaps centuries. The deity of the temple does not participate in the pooram, and is a silent spectator to the proceedings. The participation is limited to temples with Devi and Sastha as the primary deities. It is said that the festival used to witness participation from 108 temples. Presently, the festivities consist of processions (called “Ezhunnallippu”) from about 23 temples.
Till midnight I could see several processions either joining another temple procession and some elephants just walking with their deities into the temple.
The whole atmosphere was charged up with the many rituals being performed, people stepping in and out of the temple in groups and the elephants performing in unison.
The spectacle would continue till dawn but I decided to wind up around 1am and return back to my hotel in Thrissur, capturing in my camera a little bit of the grand visual feast.