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Attukal Pongala a Festival for Women

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attukal pongala

Date

Dates

To be Announced
Location

Location

Kerala, India

Celebration of Goddess Kanagi at Atukkal Bhagavatthy Temple in Kerala.

Celebration of Goddess Kanagi at Atukkal Bhagavatthy Temple in Kerala.

Celebrated at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, Attukal Pongala is a ten-day festival during which millions of women gather on a ninth day and prepare a spiritual food made of rice in clay or earthen pots and offer it to the goddess of the temple. Goddess Kannagi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, is worshipped during this festival.

About the Festival
About the Festival

The ten-day long festival begins from the day of Bharank (Karthika star) of the Malayalam month of Makaram-Kumbham (February-March) and ends on the tenth day with the sacrificial offering known as Kuruthitharpanam at night. The most important day of the festival is the Attukal Pongala Mahotsavam, which is the ninth day of the festival. Hundreds and thousands of women of all castes and creed from Kerala and Tamil Nadu make offerings to the Goddess Kannagi by cooking Pongala near the temple. 'Pongala' which means to boil over, is a customary offering to please the Goddess. It consists of a mixture of rice, coconut, sweet brown molasses, nuts and raisins.

Significance
Significance

According to Epic Anklet, Kovalan, the husband of Kannagi, was given the death penalty by the ruler of Madurai for stealing the anklet of a queen. Kannagi succeeds in proving the innocence of her husband. She then leaves the city and on her way to Kodungalloor shrine, she stops at Attukal. Goddess Attukalamma is said to be an incarnation of 'Kannaki,’ the heroine of Tamil Epic 'Silappathikaram' written by the poet Illango in the 2nd century.

Festivities for Attukal Pongal begins with Thottampattu, which is a song about Bhagavathi. These songs or bhajans continue for a span of nine days. On the ninth day of Attukal Pongala hundreds and thousands of women gather in the temple and prepare Ponkala or Pongala which is a customary offering to please the Goddess. It consists of a mixture of rice, coconut, sweet brown molasses, nuts and raisins. The ritual of cooking the Pongala starts early in the morning. The preparation for Pongala starts with the ritual called 'Aduppuvettu,' which refers to the lighting of the pongala hearth called Pandarayaduppu which is then placed inside the temple by the chief priest. The chief priest then arrives with Goddess's sword and blesses the women by sprinkling holy water on them and showering them with flowers. The women then take the Pongala back to the house.

Later on, the idol of the goddess is carried to Manacaud Sastha Temple in a beautiful and mesmerizing procession, which consists of Thalapoli, Kuthiyottom, Annam, Vahanam and elephants with musical ensembles by artists. Devotees greet the procession with Nirapara which is a pot filled with paddy and decorated with flowers. The procession reaches back to the temple the next day. This eventually marks the end of this beautiful festival.

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