Monday, February 18, 2019

Attukal Pongala - 2019

I went to Trivandrum the second time for this auspicious festival -  Attukal Pongala.

It is the festival where women participate and make prasad for goddess Attukal devi.  This festival is on 20/2/19.
Attukal Pongala is the largest congregation of women for a festival in the world. Pongala, which means 'to boil over’, is the ritual in which women prepare sweet payasam (a pudding made from rice, jaggery, coconut and plantains cooked together) and offer it to the Goddess or ‘Bhagavathy’. The hearths of devotees are lighted only after the one inside the temple is lighted. The ritual can only be performed by women and the streets of the city are jam-packed with faithful devotees during the time of the festival.  It is believed that Attukal is the resting place of Kannaki, the great heroine of  chilapathykaram Kannaki proceeded to Kodungallor.  On the way she halted at Attukal for a while.  Knowing the arrival of Kannaki, the people of Attukal welcomed her by offering pongala. The famous ‘Attukal Pongala’ is celebrated in memory of Kannaki’s visit to Attukal.
Pongala festival has found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest attendance of women on February 23, 1997. 1.5 million women had participated in that year's Pongala.
The whole city is lit with lights and everybody chants bhajans in these 10 days.
This time we reached Trivandrum 5 days before the Pongala. I was surprised to see the light arrangement. My cousins and I went in the night to see the light arrangement.
There is another ritual called Kuthiyottam. This ritual is performed by young boys of age below 12 years on the Pongala day - the final day of the ten-day festival. 
I am waiting for tomorrow, the Pongala day. My mother would do perform the ritual. Arjun and I am excited as we would be distributing juices and drinks to thirsty women, who do Pongala in the scorching heat.

Pongala day went well. My mom made the prasad. Arjun and I distributed juices to all the ladies. After the Nivedyam, Attukal devi takes a tour and goes Manacaud shastha temple, along with Kuthiyottam kids. There were around 850 kids for Kuthiyottam!!
Overall the arrangements done by the Kerala government was good. Whole city is in the festive mood.


By Aryan.

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