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A pooram is an annual temple festival held in Kerala and the Thrissur Pooram is considered the mother of all poorams, the most vibrant and exciting.
The festivities take place in the Malayalam month of Medom (April-May) and last for 36 hours as two rival groups display their artistic prowess through musical performances and decoration.
As the rhythmic beats of the orchestra get underway richly caparisoned elephants emerge from temples around town and descend on Vadakkunathan temple.
Lavishly decorated with jewels and sequined silk parasols the elephants carry the temple deities high on their backs in celebration.
Thousands of spectators and visitors from all over the world arrive in the early morning to witness the processions and 'Kudamattam', a competition in the swift and rhythmic changing of the brightly coloured parasols, by the people atop the elephants.
Celebrations continue until dawn the following day under a sky of dazzling pyrotechnics.