Thrissur is a city situated in the centre of Kerala state, India It is an important cultural centre, and is known as the "cultural capital" of Kerala. The name Thrissur is derived from "Thiru-Shiva-Perur", which literally translates to "The city of the Sacred Siva. In ancient days, Thrissur was known as Vrishabhadripuram. From very early times Thrissur has been a centre of learning. With the decline of Buddhism and Jainism due to the growing supremacy of Brahminism and the revival of Hinduism, Thrissur became an important centre of Sanskrit learning. Kerala Sahithya Academy, Sangeetha Nataka Academy and Kerala Lalithakala Academy (State Academies of Literature, Fine Arts and Theatrical Arts) are head quartered at Thrissur making the epithet 'cultural capital of Kerala' really significant. The internationally acclaimed Kerala Kalamandalam, a state academy for the promotion of classical arts is also situated at Cheruthuruthy, around 30 kms from Thrissur town.
Thrissur Pooram is considered to be the Mother of all Poorams, a cultural highlight that towers above all other festivals .Thrissur pooram is a festival unique in its pageantry, magnitude and participation. It is not a mere temple festival in its strict sense, but at the same time it is the festival of festivals of Kerala.
Two days before pooram, there is a huge exhibition – Ana chamaya pradharshanam (exhibition of elephant decorations), of both temple. The pooram has a good collection of elephants (more than 50) decorated with nettipattam (decorative golden headdress), strikingly crafted Kolam, decorative bells, ornaments and the umbrellas, venchamaram, and alavattam and it enrich the beauty of elephants and pooram.
Thrissur is world famous for its Pooram Festival, which is one of the biggest festivals of Kerala. Thrissur Pooram was the brain child of Raja Rama Varma or famously known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790–1805). He unified the 10 temples situated around Vadakkunnathan Temple and organised the celebration of Thrissur Pooram as a mass festival. He invited temples with their deities to the city of Thrissur to pay obeisance to Lord Vadakkunnathan, the presiding deity of the Vadakkunnathan Temple. Sakthan Thampuran ordained these temples into two groups, Western group and Eastern group. The Western group is lead by Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple, consisting of Kanimangalam, Laloor, Ayyanthole and Nethilakkavu. The Eastern group called as Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple, consisting in addition to Paramekkavu temple, Karamukku, Chembukavu, Choorakottukavu and Panamukkamppilly. The Pooram was to be centered on the Vadakkunnathan Temple, with all these temples sending their Poorams (the whole procession), to pay obeisance to the Shiva, the presiding deity.
It is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple on the 'Pooram' star of the Malayalam Calendar month of 'Medam'. 'Pooram' is the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star. Principle participants are Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple and Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple. The Pooram celebration begins seven days before the main Pooram. It starts with the ceremonial flag hoisting. The main Pooram starts on the sixth day after the flag hoisting. The 36 hour long pooram follow strict time schedule and prescribed route to pay obeisance to Lord Vadakumnathan. The first to enter the Vadakkunnathan Temple on Pooram day is Kanimangalam Sastha Temple through southern gopuram and exits through western goupuram. The next to follow is Chembukkavu Bhagavathy Temple, Panamukkumpally Sastha Temple and Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple who enters through eastern goupuram and leaves through southern goupuram. The other Poorams of Laloor Bhagavathy Temple, Neithilakkavu Bhagavathy Temple, Choorakkottukavu Bagavathy Temple enter Vadakkunnathan Temple through western goupuram leaves through southern goupuram. The Pookkattikkara - Karamukku Baghavathy Temple enters through western goupuram and leaves through southern goupuram. It is known as "exit through southern goupuram". The Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple enters Vadakkunnathan Temple through western gopuram and leaves through southern gopuram. Later all Poorams conclude at Nilapaduthara near western goupuram of Vadakkunnathan Temple.
One of the major events in Thrissur pooram is “Madathil varavu” and is a panchavadhyam melam, in which more than 200 artists participates and consists of Thimila, Madhalam, Trumpet, Cymbal and Edakka. At 2’ O clock, inside the Vadakkumnathan temple starts the famous Ilanjithara melam, which consists of drum, trumpets, pipe and cymbal. The spectacular event consists of number of golden caparisoned elephant, elephant accoutrements, ornamental fan made of peacock feathers, royal fan, sacred bells and decorative umbrellas. Thrissur pooram is commonly known as drum oriented festival, which consists of Panchavadhyam, Elinjithara melam Panjari melam and Pandi melam which is famous among Indian and Foreign tourists. People wil go eccentric and enjoy the beats to its core. The festival comes to an end with the colourful fireworks. People come from faraway places to watch this amazing display of pyrotechnics.