The singular belief — Attukal Pongala

I never had the opportunity to witness the Attukal Pongala festival, having lived in Trivandrum city for the last four years. We usually rush home having obtained the two-day public holidays, which would be clubbed with a weekend and with a mass cut in between to make it a five-day long break. Having to bid my adieu to the city in two months— I was resolute to witness the extravagance this year.

It’s fascinating to see these many believers in Attukal Devi. So much belief that people come from all over the country to make their offerings for Devi.

It is this belief that broke the Guinness world record with 2.5 million women offering pongala, making it the biggest religious gathering of women in the world.

A friend of mine (Sreeranjani ) stated — “ On the previous day of pongala, we roam around the city at night. I feel so safe. There are women all over the city. Wish they did it everyday. Women just stay indoors at night on other days.”

Pots being lined up for Pongala.
My friends and I decided to cook in a pot.
The fire lit from the Attukal temple being passed from one pot to another.
And the frenzy begins.
Our head chef — Miss Sreeranjani Gangadharan.
The belief so hard that they withstand all the heat and smoke.
Some fancy pots.
The pongala free food kit — Glucose biscuit + Watermelon juice + Fried rice.
Pongalas being lined up in front of a Mosque. Women were even taking shelter in the church compound. That is India for you!

The constant Bhakti ganangal (devotional music) to make sure that the devotion doesn’t fade away. Sometimes its dappankuthu music — just to keep your energy pepped up.
Blessings obtained directly proportional to the number of pongalas it seems. A woman who made an offering of 50 pots of pongalas.
The quickly cleaned streets — the streets back to normal in the evening.

Another fascinating fact that my friend’s mother mentioned is that, that it has never rained on the day of pongala. Devi seems to keep the rain clouds away.

The air was filled with pollutants after the event. The particulate matter in the air reaches the highest on the day of pongala.

As an engineering student, I am saddened by the fact that advancements in technology haven’t been incorporated in the event. Its high time we use electric or solar devices for cooking, use drones for the distribution of prasadams etc. Using technology can bring lead to better organization of the festival, thus making it more economical and resulting in less damage to the environment.

And finally these two people for no reason at all.

Check out – My Trek to Ranipuram

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