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Attukal Pongala

Attukal Pongala

Attukal Pongala is an iconic festival celebrated at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. It is one of the largest annual gatherings of women in the world and holds immense religious and cultural significance for the people of Kerala.

The festival usually falls in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February-March) and lasts for ten days, culminating in the grand Pongala ritual. The term 'Pongala' translates to 'to boil over,' referring to the ritualistic offering of a sweet porridge made of rice, jaggery, coconut, and other ingredients.

On the day of the Pongala, millions of women from different parts of Kerala and beyond gather in and around the temple premises to prepare the Pongala offering in makeshift brick hearths. The entire city of Thiruvananthapuram transforms into a sea of women clad in traditional attire, each engaged in the sacred act of cooking the Pongala.

As the auspicious time approaches, the chief priest of the temple performs the ceremonial lighting of the hearth, signaling the commencement of the Pongala ritual. Devotees then pour the cooked Pongala into clay pots and offer it to the presiding deity, Attukal Amma, seeking her blessings for prosperity, health, and happiness.

The festival is steeped in legend and mythology, with devotees believing that Attukal Amma, the goddess of fertility and motherhood, fulfills the wishes of her devotees who offer Pongala with utmost devotion and sincerity.

Attukal Pongala is not just a religious event but also a celebration of womanhood, community, and devotion. It fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie among women from diverse backgrounds who come together to partake in the age-old tradition of Pongala, transcending caste, creed, and social barriers.

The significance of Attukal Pongala extends beyond its religious and cultural dimensions, as it has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the largest annual gathering of women for a religious activity. The festival is a testament to the enduring faith and fervor of the people of Kerala and continues to draw devotees and visitors from far and wide.

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