ATTUKAL PONGALA (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Ar and Culture)

News-CRUX-10     26th February 2024        
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Context: Smoke billowed from tens of thousands of cooking pots lining streets and public spaces here on Sunday as women celebrated the Attukal Pongala by making the ritual offering to the presiding deity of the Attukal Bhagavathy temple.


Attukal Pongala

  • About: Pongala is a ten-day-long festival celebrated at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.
  • Commencement Ceremony: The festival begins with the musical narration of the Goddess' story (Kannaki Charitam) during the "Kappu Kettu ceremony".
  • Victory of Good Over Evil: Pongala commemorates the triumph of Good over Evil, symbolized by the slaying of the Pandyan King in the story.
  • Dramatic Rituals: The Goddess' victory over the Pandyan King is marked by intense drumming and chanting, followed by the lighting of hearths for preparing offerings.
  • Significance of Pongala: Pongala, meaning 'to boil over', involves women preparing sweet payasam as an offering to the Goddess.
  • Attukal Bhagavathy Temple: Dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy, this temple is renowned as "the Sabarimala of Women" due to its large female devotee base.
  • Guinness Record Holder: Attukal Pongala entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest annual gathering of women in 1997 and 2009.
  • Architectural Fusion: The temple showcases elements of both Kerala and Tamil architectural styles, reflecting cultural fusion.
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