Ponkala Mahotsavam
The Pongala Mahotsavam is the most important festival of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. The offering of Pongala is a special temple practice prevalent in the southern part of Kerala and some parts of Tamilnadu. It is a ten-day programme commencing on the Karthika star of the Malayalam month of Makaram-Kumbham (February-March) and closing with the sacrificial offering known as Kuruthitharpanam at night. On the ninth day of the festival the world famous Attukal Pongala Mahotsavam takes place. The entire area of about 5 kilometre radius around temple with premises of houses of people of all caste, creed and religion, open fields, roads, commercial institutions, premises of Government offices etc. emerges as a consecrated ground for observing Pongala rituals for lakhs of women devotees assembling from different parts of Kerala and outside. The ceremony is exclusively confined to women folk and the enormous crowd, which gathers in Thiruvananthapuram on this auspicious day is reminiscent of the Kumbhamela Festival of North India.

Devi ATTUKALAMMA is considered as the  incarnation  of 'Kannaki',  the heroine of 'Silappathikaram' by Tamil Poet Illango in 2nd century A.D and Attukal is one of the places where Kannaki took rest on her journey northward from Madurai to Kodungallur.

PONKALA FESTIVAL OF 2004 COMMENCES ON 27 FEBRUARY 2004 & ENDS ON 7 MARCH 2004.
THE PONKALA BEING HELD ON
SATURDAY 6 MARCH 2004.

 

 
Mammoth gathering of women devotees from all religions participate  in pongala.

Mammoth gathering of women devotees from all religionsThe famous Attukal Ponkala  -instant cooking of rice with jaggery & coconut in temple premises-  falls during the month of February/March every year (Kumbhom) is the annual festival   of  the temple. The  Ponkala  is celebrated on the ninth day of the festival,  the day of the confluence  of the star Pooram and Pournami  (Full  Moon  Night.)  It   has  been  reported  that over 15 lakhs women devotees participated in the Ponkala  held early this year (during March '98), the like of which ,  is  unparalleled  anywhere  in  the  world.  Every  inch  of    temple including  roads, courtyards of houses  etc. become sites  of  Ponkala  cooking  on that day. Around  11 am the Priest  lights the hearth  in  front of  the  temple amidst fire works and beating of chenda. This is then passed  on from one woman to  the  other who light their hearth  and prepare "Neivedyam".  At about 4 pm on that day,  Priests come out of the temple carrying  holy water which  marks the finale of the  Ponkala  and  the devotees  return home with happiness  and satisfaction in their  mind and  after making  an appeal  to the Goddess for  Her permission  to participate in next year's Ponkala. 



 
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