Attukal Pongala Festival 2020

Women devotees offering the pongala ritual on the occasion of 'Attukal Pongala'.

Event Date: 9th March 2020.

Venue: Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Trivandrum.

Attukal Pongala Festival in Trivandrum

Kerala is not all about its scenic natural beauty, beaches, backwaters and hill stations, moreover the stunning exquisitely beautiful temples are among its star attractions. Kerala is home to a countless number of amazing temples that are not only splendid in terms of their history, mythology, beauty, and architectural magnificence but also because of the spectacular and ritualistic festivals celebrated here with great pomp and show.

One of the most prominent temple festivals celebrated in Kerala is the Attukal Pongala Festival which is celebrated religiously every year at the famous Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Trivandrum. The main highlight is that this festival is exclusively for women and has even won the Guinness World Record for being the largest single gathering of women for religious activity in the world.

This year, the annual Attukal Pongala Festival will be held on March 9th, 2020.

Read on to know more about Attukal Pongala Festival 2020:

Attukal Pongala Festival 2020:

Attukal Pongala is a world-renowned ritualist annual festival celebrated at the famous Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Trivandrum district of Kerala by the women folks. The festival lasts for ten days which commences on the Bharani day of the Malayalam month of Makaram or Kumbham that concludes with the sacrificial offering known as Kuruthitharpanam at night. It usually falls in February or March. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali (Kannaki) who is fondly referred to as ‘Attukalamma’ and the Attukal Pongala Festival is observed strictly by the womenfolk every year without fail. Regardless of the scorching heat of the sun, lakhs of women in traditional attires line up on either side of the roads around the Attukal Temple, making offerings of Pongala to appease the Goddess Attukalamma

Women devotees offering the pongala ritual on the occasion of 'Attukal Pongala' in Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Trivandrum, Kerala

Pongala is actually a mix of rice with jaggery and grated coconut which is cooked for about two hours in fresh earthen or metal pots. The chief priest of the temple carries Devi’s sword and blesses the ladies by sprinkling holy water and showering flowers and the blessed Pongala is then distributed amongst the devotees. The entire city lights up in festive fervor with the regular conduct of Bhajans, musical concerts, ballets depicting folk and temple arts etc for 10 days. The ritualistic preparation of Pongala takes place on the ninth day of the festival. Over three million women participate in the Attukal Pongala Festival every year for which it has reached Guinness Book of World Records for being the single largest gathering of women for religious activity. 

Unidentified devotees take part in the 'Pongala' ritual in Attukal Pongala Festival in Trivandrum, Kerala

This year 2020, this 10 days festival starts from 1st March 2020 to 10th March 2020 and the grand Attukal Pongala event will be celebrated on 9th March 2020

About Attukal Bhagavathy Temple:

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a famous Hindu religious shrine in Kerala which is often referred to as “Sabarimala of Women“. Goddess Bhadrakali who is fondly known as Attukalamma is the main deity of this temple who is worshipped here in 3 different forms namely Maha Saraswathi – the Goddess of Knowledge, Maha Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth and Mahakali/ Durga/ Parvathy – the Goddess of Power. Attukalamma is considered as an avatar of Kannaki, the heroine of ‘Silapathikaram’ of Ilanko Adikal, who is appraised as the supreme preserver and destroyer. 

Inside of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Trivandrum

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is an architectural marvel that beautifully combines the architectural styles of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Mythological stories of Hinduism adorns the walls of the temple and one side of temple’s gopura depict the stories of Kannaki. ‘Dasavatara’ or the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu inside the temple is an added delight. Also, the intricately carved figures of Mahishasuramardhini, Goddess Kali, Rajarajeswari, Sree Parvathy with Lord Shiva are a visual treat.

Women devotees offering the pongala ritual on the occasion of 'Attukal Pongala' in Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Legend has it that Kannaki took revenge on the King of Madurai by cursing the city with disaster, for a mistaken death penalty imposed on her husband Kovalan. After the annihilation of the entire Kingdom of Madurai, Kannaki reached Attukal where she disguised herself as a young girl and appeared in front of the head (Karanavar) of the Mulluveetil family, an influential family of the region, near the Killi river and requested the old man to help her cross the river. The extraordinary charm, charisma and glow of the little girl made the old man believe that the girl is divine and helped her cross the river as well as invited her to his home. But she disappeared. That night, she came back in his sleep and asked him to build a temple for her where he found 3 golden lines in his grove. The temple was built as per the instruction which came to be known as the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. Devotees believe that Attukalamma will be present at Attukal during the Pongala festival.

Top Tourist Attractions in Thiruvananthapuram:

Trivandrum Padmanabhaswamy Temple view with temple pond

Trivandrum, the state capital of Kerala is an amazing place of historical, natural and spiritual significance as well as it is dotted with a bunch of tourist attractions. From world-renowned temples, palaces, to beautiful tourists spots, there is a lot to explore in Trivandrum. Some of the popular tourist attractions here are:

  • Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
  • Kanakannu Palace.
  • Kowdiar Palace.
  • Napier Museum.
  • Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum.
  • Kovalam Beach.
  • Priyadarshini Space Planetarium.
  • Agasthyakoodam Peak.
  • Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple. 
  • Shanghumukham Beach.
  • Veli Tourist Village.
  • Neyyar Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Ponmudi Hill Station.

Getting There:

By Air: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the nearest airport to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple which is situated 7 Km away from the shrine. On reaching the airport, one can hire a taxi, bus or autorickshaw to reach the temple. 

By Rail: Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple which is situated 2 Km away from the shrine. On reaching the railway station, one can hire a taxi, bus or autorickshaw to reach the temple.  

By Road: Thampanoor Bus Station is the nearest bus station to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple which is situated at a distance of 2 Km away from the shrine. 

Mark your calendar now and miss not this world-renowned ritualistic annual festival to get yourself indulged in the divine bliss.

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