Actor Prithviraj inaugurates cultural programmes

Thousands thronged the Attukal Bhagavathy temple in the city on Tuesday to witness the traditional Kappukettu ceremony that marked the start of Attukal Pongala festival this year.

The ten-day festival, celebrated in the Malayalam months of Makaram-Kumbhom (February-March), is considered a women's festival with thousands of women devotees offering Pongala to the goddess. The festivities began on Tuesday morning with a traditional rendering of devotional songs. In the evening, thousands gathered for the Kappukettu and the inaugural ceremony of the festival.

The cultural programmes as part of the festival were inaugurated by actor Prithviraj. Speaking at the function, he said he had understood the devotion to the Attukal Bhagavathy through his mother. Veteran actor Madhu was presented this year's Attukal Amba Award. The festival publicity office was also inaugurated by V. Sivankutty, MLA. The inaugural ceremony was followed by a devotional concert by Radhika Ramachandran and group. The cultural programme included a mega show ‘Gandharam' by Soorya Krishnamurthy and a concert of old songs — ‘Old is Gold' — by Layatharang Orchestra.

Elaborate arrangements have been made at the venue and in nearby areas by more than 26 government departments. On Tuesday, Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan visited the temple to inspect the arrangements made as part of the festival.

In a meeting held after the visit, the authorities said the construction of the roads and cleaning of canals would be completed in three days. More than 5,000 policemen, including 25 members of the Shadow Police wing, will be responsible for the security arrangements in the area.