KERALA, INDIA, April 9, 2014 (Press Information Bureau): The months of April and May, when the temperatures soar and the countryside is soaked daily in the brightest of sunlight, villages and small towns in the Malabar region (Northern parts) of Kerala reverberate to the exciting rhythms of various instruments. The colorful and musical festivals of Poorams are held during this period.
The pooram festivals are conducted with the local temple as the centre. The biggest and most colorful festival takes place at Vadakkumnathan temple in Thrissur and is called Thrissur Pooram. It happens during the Malayalam month of Medam (April/May). Another important festival not far from Thrissur is the Arattupuzha Pooram, which has around 60 elephants. This year the Arattupuzha pooram is being celebrated on April 11.
Thrissur pooram, the grandest spectacle of all has its beginnings during the reign of Sakthan Thampuran - one of the strongest rulers of the erstwhile kingdom of Kochi. He is said to have started the system of staging a grand pooram festival in repentance of having accidentally beheaded an oracle (what is locally known as a velichappadu - one who acts as a spokesperson for the local deity).
Panchavadyam, a rhythmic orchestra, that may feature more than 100 artists, playing five (pancha) different kindof instruments, is one of the major ingredients of the Pooram festivals. The term panchavadyam literally means an orchestra of five instruments. It is basically a temple art form that has evolved in Kerala. Of the five instruments, four --timila, maddalam, ilathalam and idakka -- belong to the percussion category, while the fifth, the kombu, is a wind instrument.