The Kerala government has decided to close the Thrissur Pooram festival to the public, hours after it was reported that the state health minister had said that the festival will be conducted as usual in spite of the health concerns associated with large crowds during the pandemic.
The Thrissur Pooram festival is held on the grounds of the Vadakkunathan temple in the town and is one of the biggest Hindu festivals in the state, attended by close to two million people.
The Kerala government had initially said that a COVID-19 negative certificate would be required for those who attend but had ruled out cancelling the programme entirely.
“Many preparations have been made for the festival, so it is not possible to cancel it entirely. It will cause many problems. Clear instructions have been given to conduct it with caution which the Devaswom committee has been agreed to. Even those who test negative [for COVID-19] should still wear masks, apply sanitisers and keep as much distance as possible from each other,” K.K. Shailaja, the health minister said.
Now instead of a festival, Thrissur Pooram will be held as a ritual, with only key organisers in attendance. The rituals will be screened online.