From pots to jaggery, Pongala ingredients cost more

Offering Pongala to Attukal Bhagavathy will be a costly affair this year with the prices of many essential items skyrocketing.

Start with the earthen pots, the must-have for the Pongala festival. The price of standard size pots has gone up from Rs.50 last year to Rs.65. The actual price of the pot, if directly sourced from a local potter, is only Rs.30.

The earthen lamps are priced at Rs.10 for three. The ‘thavi’ or the traditional spoon comes at Rs.40, while it was Rs.35 last year.

The price of the firewood bundle, however, has remained the same, only that the bundle has dwindled to a smaller size.

Lost tradition

P. Chandrika, an earthen pot seller from Nagercoil, says that the sale of earthen pots has dipped this year as many have switched to aluminium utensils.

“The tradition of the festival is to use earthen pot where young girls are initiated into cooking with naturally available materials. We have to use earthen pots, firewood, handmade baskets. But now-a-days tradition is seldom followed,” she said.

Special Pongala saris have flooded the markets for women, the main devotees of Attukal Amma. Previously priced at Rs.100, the starting price at most shops is now Rs.130.

The bricks for making the hearth costs Rs.10-12.Though many groups will be supplying free bricks during the festival, people have already purchased bricks to set up the hearth early and book a spot near the temple.

The price of ingredients for making the savoury Pongala dish (rice pudding) has also gone up.

While the price of coconut increased from Rs.16 a kg to Rs.18 last week, jaggery is being sold at Rs.38-40.

According to Krishnan Thampi, a coconut dealer near the Pazhavangadi Mahaganapathy temple, people will buy coconut even if it is priced high and will be only happy to brave the scorching sun and the choking smoke to cook the Pongala Nivedyam for Attukal Amma.