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Thekkinkadu adorned with 60ft ‘Pookkalam’ for a grand Onam welcome in Thrissur.

In anticipation of Onam, Thrissur embarked on a vibrant preparation, unfurling an expansive ‘Pookkalam’ (floral carpet) on the lush Thekkinkadu Maidan, just in front of the iconic Sree Vadakkumnathan Temple, renowned for hosting the splendid Thrissur Pooram festival.

The ‘Atham’ day, marking the inception of the ten-day-long Onam celebrations, witnessed an extraordinary feat achieved by a circle of companions who proudly identify themselves as ‘Thrissur Saayahna Souhrida Koottayma’. This collective orchestrated the crafting of a breathtaking ‘Pookkalam’, spanning an impressive 60 feet in diameter.

A plethora of blossoms, weighing well over a tonne, were meticulously selected for the composition of this captivating Pookkalam. Among these were marigold, globe amaranth, and chrysanthemum, each lending its unique hue and fragrance to the enchanting creation that drew the admiration of hundreds, some even arriving as early as 3 am. This elaborate endeavor saw the involvement of more than 200 dedicated volunteers who spared no effort in adorning the Pookkalam with utmost care and devotion.

Remarkably, this year marks the 16th consecutive instance of this grand tradition carried forward by the group of friends, an initiative that has become synonymous with the southern entrance to the temple.

In a separate ceremony, the city’s Mayor, MK Varghese, performed the ceremonial ‘kodiyettam’ (flag hoisting), signaling the much-anticipated commencement of the annual ‘puli kali’ festivities. Puli Kali, a time-honored folk art, sees men taking to the streets, their bodies adorned with vibrant paints to emulate the majestic presence of tigers, leopards, and other large felines. This captivating spectacle, known as ‘naalam Onam’, unfolds on the fourth day of the Onam festivities, with five teams participating in this year’s rendition.

Expressing a heartfelt sentiment, the Mayor articulated that it is imperative for the state government to provide financial support for the continuation of the Puli Kali tradition. While the Thrissur Corporation offers substantial financial aid to the participating teams, the burden of expenses continues to weigh heavily on them. The Mayor underlined the unique nature of this Onam art, exclusively performed in Thrissur, which draws thousands, including international visitors, to partake in the celebrations. Consequently, the Mayor passionately advocated for the state government’s intervention in preserving this invaluable cultural legacy.


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