Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The annual Pongala festival at the Attukal Bhagawathy temple here will take off on Thursday morning with the Kaappu Kettu ritual.

Chairman of the temple trust G. Madhavan Nair and secretary K.P.Ramachandran Nair told a press conference here on Wednesday that elaborate arrangements had been made for the 10-day festival. As many as 25 lakh devotees are expected to offer Pongala this year, they said.

The Trust said 750 boys had registered for the Kuthiyottam ritual, which starts on the third day of the festival. The Pongala offering is scheduled to be held on February 22. The curtains will come down on the Pongala festival with the Kaappazhippu and Kuruthi tharpanam on the February 23.

Mr. Ramachandran Nair said government departments, voluntary agencies, residents associations, the City Corporation, Police and Fire Force were involved in the arrangements for the festival.

The City Corporation has decided to deploy its entire workforce of sanitation employees to clean up the areas falling under the festival zone on February 21 and 22.

Two ambulances of the civic body will also be pressed into service for the festival.

Chairman of the health standing committee G.R.Anil said a team led by a Senior Health Inspector and two Junior health inspectors would be posted at Attukal.

“On February 22, the sanitation teams will clean the roads of all the waste and debris left behind by the devotees,” he said.