One of the world’s oldest and most colourful temple festivals is set to delight Indian visitors later this month.
The Arattupuzha Pooram unfolds at the Sree Sastha temple near Thrissur, Kerala. The week-long revelry, attended by thousands of visitors and all the local temples, kicks off on the 29th of March.
The temple itself, is up to 3000 years old and a sight to behold on a normal day. But on the pooram it’s a spectuacular sight you will never forget. About 70 decorated elephants and a traditional percussion orchestra process alongside markets, flower garlands and local foods.
Statues of 23 deities are carried to Sree Sastha from all the surrounding temples, earning the festival its nickname ‘Conclave of the Gods.’
The final ceremony, the aarattu, involves chants, offerings and the immersion of the statues into the Karuvannur river – a beautiful ritual to witness.
Arattupuzha is a perfect immersion for families into the kaleidoscopic vibrancy of traditional Indian celebration. It attracts huge crowds thanks to its magnitude and the grandeur and spectacle of its rituals.
Getting there: The nearest railway station to the temple is about 14 kilometres away at Thrissur, which is connected to all major city railways of India. From here, there are long distance services departing the KSRTC bus station. You can research the services from Thrissur’s Sakthan Thampuran bus stand, but hiring a car or taxi may be an easier option.
The nearest airport to the festival is Cochin International Airport and is about 45 kilometres away.
Staying there: There are plenty of hotels in Thrissur. Check out Garuda Hotel, Hotel Merlin International, Hotel Niya Regency and Hotel Luciya Palace.
Playing there: Arattupuzha is a small village near Thrissur in Kerala. Elsewhere in Kerala, an Indian state located on the tropical Malabar Coast, you’ll find popular tourist attractions such as Fort Kochi, a houseboat on the Kerala Backwaters and the tea fields of Munnar, as well as brilliant beaches on the Arabian Sea. Allow several days for your exploration of each area as there are so many sights, sounds and smells to soak up.