Quite fascinating Thrissur Poorum festival (2019) of Kerala - greatest Hindu temple show on earth!!

Thrissur Pooram 2019, sea of humans. Indianexpress.com
Flag hoisting Thrissur Pooram PenNews.net
Among the temple festivals of Kerala, Thrissur Pooram is the most popular and extravacant one  that attracts a sea of people from different parts of Kerala as well as other states. What  the festival of Kallazhagar getting into the Vaigai river to Madurai city, TN  is to the city of Thrissur which is tagged as the  "cultural capital of Kerala". During the festivities the 65-acre (26 ha) hillock called the Thekkinkadu Maidan close to Thrissur comes alive because of the presence of  Vadakkumnathan temple.  Normally, the festival is held at the Thekkinkadu Maidan in April or May and this year it was held yesterday 13 May. This annual fascinating festival  gave a long  needed break to the people of Kerala  who were  bombarded with ''General Election'' political campaigns of various sorts by the nethas (leaders) ranging from monotonous, boring and blaring stump speeches, gaffs, etc  to scathing  verbal attacks on the personal lives of other nethas that would numb the voters/people. Quite obviously the visitors to this city were quite lost in the pomp and colorful pageantry, and the splendor of this unique festival. 
The amazing thing is lakhs of people made a beeline to Thekkinkadu Maidan and Swaraj Round to watch the festivities, unmindful of  humid  weather, sweat and dust. They never looked fatigued; nor the huge milling crowd and noise  had dampened their spirit. This annual event was a visual treat to every body- procession of caparisoned elephants, of gods, percussion ensembles, and most importantly the fireworks at night. It was the ruler Raja Rama Varma, popularly  known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790–1805), it is believed, who introduced this Poorum festival here. Later it became the largest Hindu temple festival of Kerala,  superseeding the  one-day festival held at Aarattupuzha known as Arattupuzha Pooram. Temples in and around the city of Thrissur were regular participants.
 Above image: 
The famous  elephant  Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran opening the Thekke Gopura Nada of Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur. With District Collector's permission, the elephant was brought to this place in a lorry. The Vilambaram ritual, which declares open the pooram celebrations, is about bringing the idol of Naithilakkavu Temple, Kuttor to the Vadakkunnathan temple.  Another elephant Thechikkottukavu Devidasan, carried the idol from Naithilakkavu temple to Manikandanal  on the Swaraj  Round...........................

This Pooram festival, that may include as many as 36 hour-long festivities is symbolic of the meeting of deities (Utchavars) from near-by 10 different temples. Traditionally it begins with the arrival of the procession from Kanimangalam Sastha by 7.30 am.  This was when ‘cherupoorams’ start entering the Thekkikadu  Maidan. This is followed by procession from other temples. The main venue is 
Poorum festival, 2019 Thrissur. indianexpress.com
the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year on the Pooram day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam. It is the largest and most famous of all poorams. The belief is that the 10 deities visit the Vadukanathan temple on the Pooram day to pay their respect to the presiding deity- lord Shiva. An interesting fact that is worth mentioning is that annually everything related to the temple events  is made afresh- right from the scratch. This includes  coloful umbrellas and the nettipattam, etc. The ten temples fall under two sides - Paramekkavu side" and "Thiruvambady side" as ordained by Sakthan Thamburan.  As it is a common practise, the  temple flag hosting ceremony (Kodiyettam) begins seven days before Thrissur Pooram. All the participating temples of Thrissur Pooram are present for the ceremony.  There will be  a light fireworks to announce the commencement of the festival. During the festival when the two groups of temples - organize the processions which include much sought-after percussion ensembles. The famous and highly talented percussionists will make huge audience spell-binding. Yet another attraction is the changing of  colorful umbrellas by the Paramekkavu  and "Thiruvambady Devaswoms. The main  attraction of the festival is 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 colorful ceremony called the ‘Kudamattam’. The latter too  not only attracted lots of local people but also got the national attention  with respect to the controversy over parading of the elephants.
This year saw the participation of 90 well-trained elephants, in many events. Though the festival itself is just one day, preparations begin months in advance as several things need to be taken care of for the simple reason it will attract  huge gathering of people and perfect coordination among the nearby ten participating temples.  As mentioned earlier,  seven days before the Pooram, temple flags are ceremoniously hoisted at the two main participating temples, the Paramekkavu Bhagavathi Temple and the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple, officially kick-starting the proceedings. Over the years, the Pooram has become a secular event as one may see participation of many people from other faith. This kind of religious harmony and tolerance is essential for a country's upward growth promoting unity among the countless communities.