Low-decibel fireworks can be used at the annual temple festival of Thrissur Pooram, the Kerala High Court ruled on Thursday. Unauthorised chemicals should not be used in the fireworks and the noise should not exceed 125 decibels, a bench comprising Justices Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman said, reported PTI. This follows Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's announcement that the Kerala government will approach the court to seek a relaxation in its verdict banning the use of noise-generating fireworks at places of worship post sunset.
Organisers of Thrissur Pooram had decided to virtually call off their celebrations, CNN-IBN had reported earlier. According to reports, the organisers said the ritual procession with the devi’s idol will remain, but they will do away with the other major markers of the festival, which include a massive fireworks display and a parade of elephants. The district administration had written to the organisers curtailing the use of elephants, dozens of which are decked up and used in the procession.
The decision to limit the festival to a single ritual was taken after the wildlife department imposed strict regulations on parading elephants, and the district collector informed that the administration will strictly implement the high court's verdict banning fireworks during the day. Now, elephants cannot be paraded between 10 am and 5 pm, and organisers must maintain a three-metre distance between two of the animals. This makes it made it virtually impossible for the temple to conduct the "Kudamattom" (exchanging of sequinned parasols) ritual, which usually involves 100 caparisoned elephants.
A joint committee of the Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devaswoms, the two major groups that organise the festival, met on Wednesday night and decided to cancel the Kudamattom and other processions.
Thrissur Pooram is considered most important of the “poorams” – the day the moon rises with the pooram star. The high court, on Tuesday, banned fireworks between sunrise and sunset on the days of the festival, which is scheduled for April 17 and 18, after at least 109 people died in an unauthorised fireworks display at Puttingal Devi temple in Kollam last week. According to The Hindu, the participants had threatened to limit celebrations if the fireworks ban was imposed. The next hearing in the case is expected later on Thursday.