The Parakkottu Kavu Thalappoli is one of the most colorful and spectacular temple festivals in Kerala. The Thalappoli falls on the last Sunday of the Malayalam month of Medam. Three competing groups, Pampady, Padingattumuri and Kizhakkumuri have their own temples and a common temple, Parakkotu Kavu, where the three groups can mingle. The festival begins 8 days earlier than the actual date of Thalappoli, with the hoisting of flag ceremony called “kodiyettam” in the respective temples. Natives are not supposed to leave the village once the flags have been raised.
Pampady group starts their procession from “Mannom”. There are 7 elephants for each group. The elephants are decorated and with the traditional temple orchestra and various art forms like Vellattu, Poothanum Thirayum, Aandi Nayadi, Karivela, are paraded through the main street.
In the evening, the groups reach at Parakkotu Kavu where there is an area of empty field here, enough to accommodate a large crowd. The festival attracts a lot of people not from nearby, but also from the neighboring districts of Palakkad, Malappuram,Kozhikode,Kannur etc.
Another attraction of the festival is the “Ana Pandhal” which is an arch-like structure, where the caparisoned elephants remain for some time. The “Pandhal” fully decorated with coloured electric lamps; give out different pattern when switched on. All three groups keep the design of the illuminations as secret. Switching on the “Pandal”,“Anachamayam Pradarshanam” and Poothan Kali Malsaram on the previous day of the festival is a grand occasion for the local people.
The finale of the festival is the fireworks display. It is magnificent show, with three sides vying to get the upper hand. New techniques are tried every year to bring out the best performance. The quality and quantity of the fireworks are discussed by the people for many days after the event.
The selection of the elephants and Anachamayam is another prestigious issue for the organizers. They compete to get the best elephants in Kerala, paying exorbitant sums.