Thrissur: Lakhs of people thronged the Thekkinkad Maidan in the heart of the city on Saturday to soak up the joys of Thrissur Pooram.
Religious ardour mingled with carnival spirit to whip up an event that honoured tradition and propped up a culture of camaraderie unique to the land.
Pooram offered something for everyone. Animal-lovers never got tired of watching their favourite pachyderms weaving through the crowds while drumbeat pounded out a pulsating rhythm. You could not walk through the streets without bumping into herds of elephants, their ears flapping as though they were keeping the beat for the ensembles.
For aficionados of ensembles, there was plenty to choose from � Panchavadyam led by Annamanada Parameswara Marar; Pandimelam with Mattannur Sankarankutty at the helm; and a thunderous, free-floating Ilanjithara Melam, staged near an Ilanji tree in Sree Vadakkunathan temple by veteran Peruvanam Kuttan Marar and his assistants. Each ensemble had a few hundred drummers and pipers, all shirtless and covered in a sheen of sweat as the music worked up to a crescendo.
To the joy of fireworks enthusiasts, the sky shimmered with heat and light as tonnes of explosives went off.