Arattupuzha Pooram at Sree Sastha Temple at Arattupuzha is a grand annual festival which is also referred to as the ‘Mother of all Pooram Festivals’ in Kerala. Arattupuzha is a village located near Puthukkad in Thrissur district.
The Sree Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, which is believed to be more than 3000 years old and its premises are the venue for the festivities. It is believed that during the festival period, Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity at the Sree Sastha Temple is visited by gods and goddesses of the neighbouring villages.
Arattupuzha Pooram festival is celebrated for seven days in which the last two days attract thousands of devotees. This festival is attended by thousands of devotees not only from across the state of Kerala but also from neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
‘Sasthavinte Melam’ is the highlight of the festival which is celebrated in the evening on the penultimate day of the week-long festival. Sasthavinte Melam is the assembly of caparisoned elephants and staging of percussion.
By the early morning on the last day of the festival (Arattupuzha Pooram), the decked elephants carrying deities of nearby temples proceed to the nearby paddy fields. It is a great spectacle to watch more than fifty caparisoned elephants lined up in front of a huge crowd of devotees.
When the traditional percussion ensembles comprising Panchavadyam, Pacharimelam and Pandimelam reaches the caparisoned elephants with their excellent beats and rhythms, the venue become even more jubilant.
Aarattu ceremony is performed at the nearby river. By the sunrise, the elephants carrying the deities from neighbouring temples gather at Arattupuzha Sree Sastha Temple and soon would start their journey towards the river for Aarattu.
During Aarattu ceremony, all the deities of the nearby temples are cleansed by immersing in the idols in the river amidst the chantings of Veda Mantras. After all the idols, the presiding deity of Sree Sastha temple at Arattupuzha Lord Ayyappa undergoes the Aarattu ceremony.
The Major Events of Arattupuzha Pooram Festival
Ghee Offering, Shudhi – Samarppanam, Kodiyettam, Thiruvathira Purappad, Peruvanam Pooram, Sastha at Pidikkaparambu Temple, Tharakkal Pooram, Sastha at Thottippal Temple, Arattupuzha Pooram, Devasamgamam, Kootti Ezhunnellippu, Arattu and Upacharam and Gramabali.