All preparations are in place for the conduct of the Pongala festival at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.

This year, close to 35 lakh devotees are expected to come to the capital city to offer Pongala to the presiding deity of the temple, chairman of the temple trust, K.P. Ramachandran Nair, said on Friday while addressing a press conference here. Trust president M. Radhakrishnan Nair was also present.

The Pongala ceremony would be held on March 7 and the festival would come to a close on March 8 with the ‘guruthi.' Around 5,000 volunteers would be deployed this year for various duties, including crowd control. Close to five lakh persons were expected to come to the city from outside the State to offer Pongala, he said.

All renovation activities at the temple had been completed. A special Nadapandal had been erected to allow devotees to have an orderly ‘darshan' at the temple. The bund road near the temple was now fit for traffic. All maintenance work on roads leading to the temple would be completed on February 28.

The cultural programmes being organised at the temple in connection with the festival would be inaugurated by actor Prithviraj on February 28. This year, the trust's Amba Puraskaram would be given to actor Madhu.

The trust had made arrangements for reaching ‘prasadam' to devotees via Speedpost. Details about Pongala can be had from www.attukal.org.