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.”
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.