Thrissur Pooram 2019 Highlights: The 2019 edition of the Thrissur Pooram, an extravagant temple festival in Kerala involving scores of elephants, traditional percussionists and high-voltage fireworks, will conclude tonight. Earlier today, the entire town of Thrissur in central Kerala came to a standstill as lakhs of people assembled around the Thekkinkadu Maidanam braving the hot sun and humid weather to participate in the festivities. The central attraction of the festival was the Elanjithara Melam, considered the world’s largest live orchestra of percussionists known for its technical brilliance. In the evening, 30 caparisoned elephants, with 15 on either side, stood facing each other in a wonderful ceremony called the ‘Kudamattam’.
Like every year, this edition of the festival has not been without controversies. Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, Kerala’s tallest tusker and a permanent fixture of the Pooram, was banned in February by the Chief Wildlife Warden after it trampled two people in Guruvayur town. But a massive public outcry, with equal pressure applied by the chief political parties, resulted in the district administration relaxing the ban for an hour so that the tusker could participate in the festivities. On Sunday morning, Ramachandran came as usual, ferried in a truck, followed by bursting through the southern door of the Vadakumnathan Temple to indicate the start to the festivities.