Thousands of women to cook for the goddess
All roads led to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple here on Monday, the eve of the annual Pongala.
The 10-day festival at the temple will see its climax at 10.45 a.m. on Tuesday when the chief priest lights the Pongala hearth inside the temple. From there, the fire will be transferred from hearth to hearth, thousands of them lining many kilometres of roads, inside houses, offices and in public spaces.
At 2.30 p.m., priests designated by the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Trust will begin sprinkling holy water on the rice pudding cooked by the women devotees, sanctifying their offering to the goddess.
By 7.30 p.m., the Chooral Kuthu ceremony will be held for children participating in Kuthiyottam. By 10.15 p.m., the deity will be taken out in procession from the temple.
On Wednesday morning, the last of the rituals of this year’s Pongala will be performed. At 8.30 a.m., the Kaappu Azhippu ceremony will be held. The festival started on February 18 with Kaappu Kettu. At half past noon, the festival will come to a close with “Kuruthi Tharpanam,” or the sacrificial offering. At many junctions, the police had a tough time regulating the flow of vehicles bringing devotees.