P ongala is the most important festival of Attukal Bhagavathy temple, Kerala. Kannagi is worshipped as Bhagavathy and the offering of Pongala is a very special temple practice in the southern part of Kerala. The ten-day-long celebration commences in the Malayalam month of Makaram-Kumbham (Feb-March) on the Karthika star.
Pongala ceremony falls on the day of Pooram star which coincides with full moon. The festival commences with the musical rendering of the story of the Goddess (Kannaki Charitam) during the ‘Kappukettu ceremony.' The story invokes the presence of Kodungallur Bhagavathy and the slaying of the Pandya King.
The event of the Goddess annihilating the King is accompanied by the beating of drums and vocal sounds by devotees, immediately followed by the lighting of the hearths for the preparation of the offering for the Goddess. In Kerala, on the ninth day of the festival, all roads in and around Thiruvananthapuram city lead to the Attukal Temple. The event has entered the Guinness Book for being a festival attended by the most number of women. The important ritual in the ‘Pongala' is the preparation of rice or varieties of sweet rice using hearths and the earthen pots in the open.
In Chennai, the festival is organised at Noombal, ICL Home Town. Noombal is 8 km from the Koyambedu junction and 4 km from Porur junction. The first two editions of Pongala were a great success with devotees, who could not go to Thiruvananthapuram, participating in large numbers. The festival on Saturday, February 19, starts at 8.50 a.m. The Pandara Aduppu will be lit at 10.45 a.m. and puja is at 1 p.m. followed by annadhanam. For details contact 9444642407 and 9445624437.