Thiruvananthapuram: Several lakhs of women devotees including celebrities and foreign nationals especially women offered Pongala to appease Goddess of the Aattukal Devi temple, known as Sabarimala of women in this Capital City of Kerala on Tuesday.
The Pongala ceremony began at around 10.30 am after the Chief Priest of the temple lit the main hearth ‘Pandara Aduppu’ arranged in the temple, with fire brought from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. After that, the devotees also lighted the hearths arranged by them.
The ceremony is observed with religious fervour and gaiety. The women devotees, who gathered with their cooking pots to perform the ritual for the health and prosperity of their families, offered Pongala- a sweet rice, prepared in earthen pots using rice, jaggery and coconut- to appease the presiding deity of the temple.
In 2009, the ritual had made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest religious gathering of women on a single day when over three million people took part in it.
Several foreign nationals who reached the city performed the ritual in front of their hotels and resorts where they were given all support by the local people.
Meanwhile, the wives of several ministers and MLAs, women leaders of various political parties and staff of Kerala Raj Bhavan also performed the ritual.
Preparing ‘Pongala’ is considered an auspicious ritual of the annual festival of the Attukal Temple. Pongala is held on the ninth day of the 10-day-long festival that began with a ‘Kappukethu’ ritual. The festival will come to a close with the cerenonial removal of ‘Kappu’ and the ‘Kuruti Tharppanam’ tomorrow.