The annual pooram celebration at Thirumandhamkunnu is a famous temple
festival in the region between Shornur and Kozhikode. From early days it
self-Valluvakonathiri celebrated this festival intended for his family
diety in pomp and splendor. Another version that he started this pooram
festival when the rights and privileges of Mamankom were lost to the
Zamorion. There is evidence to prove that the pooram festival has a
history going back to the early decades of the 16th century in the palm
leaf records of Calicut University.
The festival lasts for 11 days from Makayiram star in Meenam (March, April). About a week before the commencement of pooram a folk dance party moves from door to door in the locality and announces the festival. The temple and premises also get a facelift with maintenance pavilions etc. On Makayiram star, after the forenoon Pantheeradi pooja Devi’s Thidampu is taken out from Mathrusala to the accompaniment of drumbeats and wind instruments. It is mounted on a decorated elephant moves clockwise round the temple and goes down the steps in the North to the river ghats for Aarattu. Valluavkonathiri his subordinate chieftains, heroes representing the old traditional suicide squads, the komarams of Aalikkal, Vayilamkunnu and Kongadu Devi temples and a large number of devotees take part in the procession.
In olden days when the procession has gone down to Aarattu, “Kavudaya Nair” as the representative of Vellattiri would stand in his ceremonial dress on a nearby basement called “chembakathara” and hear compliments from the subjects. This practice was called ‘Nilapadu Nilkal” Valluvakonathiri was bound to redress the grievance s thus presented before his representative.
After Aarattu the procession starts back to the temple. After going round the temple thee times the Thidambu is dismounted and taken to its orginal position in Mathrusala. The poojas are then conducted as usual. The procession is repeated in the evening also after dusk. The main event connected with pooram festival is this procession in pomp and splendour from temple to the river and back.
The rites of pooram according to Pataha and Dhwaja customs and the rites of festival in with Ankura custom are strictly performed in Thirumandhamkunnu. Navadhanyam- the 9 types of seed corn kept apart for germination on the 4th day of Utsav is given as prasadam to devotees on the 11th day by which time the Navadhanyam would have fully germinated and started sprouting.
For the evening procession on the 10th day there is one beating drum only. Devi mounted on elephant proceeds to the “Vettekkorumakan kavu” for royal hunt. Valluvakonathiri shoots an arrow on a large jack fruit which represents a vou, the crowd shouts in joy with hurrays and the sounds from the percussion and wind instruments, Panchavadyam, Nagaswaram, etc. Are at their climax. Fireworks also follw. The goddess returns back to the temple. After arathy in the northern Balikkal Pura the procession starts as routine for Arrattu. The 21st Arratu is on the 11th day in the evening. On return from Arrattu the procession goes round the temple 21 times and the Thidambu is then taken Mathrusala. A set of Rituals with 25 kalasas follows and then Athazhapooja and Sree Bhoothili are performed. Vellathiri is his ceremonial dress and with all royal retnue arrives on the pooram ground to give audience to the headman of pana community. The headman holding the title “Malayan Kutty” reaches the place in a Palanquin. It is pointed out that this meeting is to commemorate the help rendered by the tribal headman to the ruler in by gone days.
OttamThullal, Chakyarkoothu, etc. Are held on all days and eminent artists perform these temple arts. Stately tuskers and experts in percussion and wind instruments also participate in the pooram festival. Thus making it is a grand success. People from far and near irrespective of caste, creed and region take part in the pooram festival. KazhchaSiveli in the morning, in the evening procession from Puthur temple in Perinthalmanna to Thirumandhamkunnu and the procession to Thali temple near by are recent additions on the 11th day. In olden days Thirumandhamkunnu pooram was held only once in twelve years just like Mamakom.The festival was made annual event by Mankada Valluvakonathiri who died in 1883 A.D.