Capital city welcomes thousands of women for the ritual
The administrative and political nerve centre of the State on Sunday let itself be taken over by tens of thousands of women, from across Kerala and the neighbouring States, seeking the blessings of the Attukal Bhagavathy by making the ritualistic ‘Pongala’ offering.
The women, arriving in groups and individually, started pouring into the city as early as Friday, with Saturday night seeing several camping by the roadside, booking spaces on the pavements to set up their hearths.
On Sunday, the rituals began at 10.30 a.m. sharp as signals of the ceremonial hearth at the Attukal temple being lit were passed on.
Braving the scorching sun, stoking the smoking hearths, the women waited, eyes locked on the sweet rice concoction brewing in their pots.
Said to be one of the largest religious congregations of women in the world, the event saw boundaries of religion blur in several places as religious institutions, including the Manacaud Valiapally and churches, made arrangements to help the women make the offering.