It is not the first time I am asking my dearest husband what is his plans for the commencing summer vacation. It is being a long time that we have gone for a long journey. Kids are desperately waiting for an exotic trip. He said that we would plan for a north Indian trip. I got angry and asked him is there any more places left to explore in north India. After the birth of our kids, we have visited almost all the tourist spots of the northern regions. I and kids together said we really wanted to discover something new… such a place that could gift us the utmost happiness and excitement. He suggested a few other places. Rather than the national parks and cascading waterfalls, there was nothing to see there. As we were bored of these sites we asked for something new. Therefore he handed over the task to us of finding the vacation spot. We were happy and also a little tense as we were assigned a new task of finding the destination for a vacation. If the destination is not that good, he will tease and blame me for my carelessness.
The next day when he left for the office, I sat in front of my personal computer and browsed several sites for selecting the best travel destination for families. As we three were deeply immersed in surfing suddenly I heard the doorbell ring I was amazed who will be there. I asked my kids to open the door. The moment they opened the door they started screaming Radhika Aunty… Radhika Aunty … I was surprised without any reason she would never visit me in the morning. Radhika is my husband’s best friend’s wife. I asked her what she prefers tea or juice… She preferred orange juice and asked me not to take any snacks but to bring 2-3 plates. I wondered but followed her instructions. I offered her juice and she opened the sweet boxes. We remain startled by seeing some new dishes which we never had tasted in our life. I just inquired from where she got the sweets. She asked me whether I remembered her Kerala trip. Yes, I remember it I replied. And asked her whether these sweets are from there she said. While savoring the sweet dishes (my kids loved the flower-shaped dish named ‘achappam’ and me also) we both inquired each other’s matters. I told her about the difficulty am facing in selecting the tourist destination for the summer vacation. She suggested selecting Kerala. I asked her what is there to see in Kerala. She told me that Kerala is a haven for travelers. Although it is situated in the bottom-most portion of India it welcomes modern technology by protecting its unique culture and tradition. And this makes them unique in our country. We then together sat to surf the beautiful places in Kerala. The stunning images of Kerala lured our hearts.
That evening we discussed the same to my husband. Like me, he also asked what is there to see in Kerala. I showed him several images and also the fascinating pictures of the exciting temple festivals which are held every year in Thrissur district. He was thrilled by seeing the images and agreed to visit Kerala. I then called Radhika and asked her how she availed of tour packages. Is there any travel operator in Ahmadabad? She told that she bought it from the famous travel operator called Gogeo Holidays. She also added that the benefit of purchasing the package is they inculcate the prices of air travel too. Therefore we need not have to worry about flight tickets. Therefore through online, I purchased the package. We all got ready for the trip.
We boarded a flight from Ahmadabad to Cochin International airport. The Cochin airport is decorated with various art forms that itself tells how much importance the state gives to its culture and heritage. The tour coordinators did not make us wait for a long time. According to our package itinerary, we first decided to tour the hilly regions in Palakkad and Wayanad. And then to participate in the world-famous temple festival called Thrissur Pooram. Our tour coordinator took us to one of the classy hotels of Palakkad after refreshing for a while we got ready for sightseeing. We visited the famous Parambikulam National Park and Silent Valley National Park. It gifted us with a mesmerizing feeling we were surprised by seeing the amazing species of fauna and flora. We then moved to the Mangalam dam and clicked many amusing photographs. We also plucked a few oranges and bought various kinds of tea powders from the vendors. Silent Valley is also known for trekking and we trek to the lofty hills. After spending two days we proceeded to Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala.
The day when we reached Thrissur was the pre-final day of Thrissur Pooram. We were amazed by seeing the thickly populated roads. We inquired about our tour guide how the temple festival became so popular in Kerala. He explained the story while savoring lip-smacking snacks in one of the prominent hotels of Thrissur. He said that many years ago the Hindu people used to celebrate only one festival in Arattupuzha temple and elephants from various parts of the district used to participate in the procession. In 1798 on the day of Arattupuzha pooram as per the custom elephants were arranged for the procession but due to sudden heavy downpours elephants with their masters reached the Arattupuzha temple a little late. This made the king angry and did not allow the elephants to participate in rituals and they returned back to Thrissur and informed the matter to their king Raja Rama Varma also known as Sakthan Thampuran. He then decided to boycott their festival and started to conduct a grand temple festival by unifying ten prominent temples of Thrissur every year and hence the birth of Thrissur Pooram took place. Among the ten temples, Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady play a vital role. They pay obeisance to preside deity Lord Shiva at Vadakkumnathan temple. The Vadakkumnathan temple acts as a spectator in the festival. Along with caparisoned elephants’ procession, the fireworks also add beauty to the pooram. Every year they craft new caparisons, umbrellas, decorative golden headdresses for elephants. Also each year new varieties of fireworks are displayed. The amount for celebrating the pooram is taken from the profit earned in the exhibition conducted in midst of pooram. The exhibition welcomes various works from different fields like science, technology, engineering, fashion, and arts.
After savoring the snacks we visited the three famous temples and witness the glory of the festival. Although the crackers busted at Thekkinkadu ground it incited joy and excitement in our hearts. With Upacharam choli piriyal (farewell ceremony) the pooram ends. After participating in the festival we strolled through historic streets and also we visited the famous art school known as Kerala Kalamandalam. We then departed our tour coordinator at Cochin International Airport and thanked him and his team for making the trip a wonderful.