Every year, for the last couple of years, a delegation of people from Thrissur in Kerala make a trip to Surat, Gujarat. They walk through the many cloth bazaars in town; looking for the most eye-catching designs, the most vibrant colours and the latest trends in fabric. And the cloth they pick up from, which these strips came, go into the making of the colourful parasols for the 'Kudamattam' or changing of parasol ritual of the Thrissur Pooram that falls on Sunday, 17 April.
For the uninitiated, Thrissur Pooram is one of the grandest and most spectacular festivals in God's Own Country. And one of the most debated-about festival too. The festival involves three major temples and several minor ones. The Thiruvambady and Paramelkavu temples make up two of the major temples and the third, the Vadakkumnathan, plays the host.
The festival that lasts for 10 days culminates with a grand pageantry – 30 elephants, decked up in all the finery, the 'Kudamattam' or the change of parasols in sync with the beat of percussion instruments and a firework display late in the night, that will leave you in awe. All these make Pooram an experience of a lifetime. And for a festival as spectacular as the Pooram, everything has to be just perfect, including the parasols and the decorations on the elephants.
This year too, the delegation went in search of cloth to Surat and they picked out the most colourful fabric- net, brocade, silk, satin among others. These were then sent to Thrissur, where it was sorted. This time, since both the temples have decided to have screen printed design on the fabric, it was sent to Thiruppur. Once the designs were printed they were brought back to Thrissur.
Even as the debate rages on about the conduct of the festival in its traditional avatar, two separate teams of artists have been at work for the last couple of weeks to make these decorations. A selection of the designs will be kept for display on Friday, 15th of April during the 'chamayam' day. And that show is a crowd puller too.
Also read: Pooram: Enchanting and nostalgic