Women gathered to Pongala, in Thiruvananthapuram
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Amitha Reji George, Pune

Women from all over Kerala and the neighbouring states come in big numbers to the state capital to celebrate the renowned “Attukal pongala”. Attukal Pongala is going to be celebrated on 24 February 2024, Sunday. With thousands of ladies expected to gather in the state capital for ‘Attukal Pongala’, churches in this area have rescheduled their Sunday worship hours, showing religious unity and brotherhood.

Apart from changing the worship timings, some churches are opening their ground and small portions of their buildings for those celebrating the Pongala. The grounds and halls of the Palayam St.Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral will be opened to women devotees, said Reverend Wilfred Emilias of the Latin Archdiocese of Trivandrum while addressing a television channel today, Deccan Herald reported. 

Attukal Pongala is one of the largest religious gatherings of women in the world annually held in Trivandrum, the Capital city of Kerala.

The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Trivandrum hosts this ten-day yearly Malayalam festival. The Attukal Bhagavathy Amman Temple is referred to as the Sabarimala of Women. Starting on February 17, 2024, and ending on February 26, 2024, the Attukal Pongala festival is one of the most important festivities for the Malayali community. February 25 is celebrated with great excitement and devotion.

At the Attukal temple, the festivities begin on the morning of the 25th when the priest fires the ‘Pandara Aduppu or main hearth. After that, devotee women lit their brick stoves and started preparing pongala sweets like Therali and payasam, made of rice, coconut, jaggery, etc in an earthen pot and offer it to goddess Bhagavathy of the Attukal Temple known as Attukalamma.

At a set moment, temple priests sprinkle water to mark the conclusion of the event in the afternoon. In Trivandrum, most women will sit across the roadways or temple grounds to prepare payasam. After getting payasam and Therali blessed they will distribute it to neighbours or locals there. Shops or the temple committee in charge of the respective area will provide food and water for the pilgrims.

The festival was marked in 2009 by the Guinness World Record as the largest annual gathering of women.