|Attukal Bhagavathi Amman temple, Attukal, Kerala. attukaldevi.com/|
on March 9, 2020. The Attukal Pongala event starts at 10.20 a.m and ends at 2.10 p.m with the traditional Nivedyam. https://www.revolvy.com/page/Attukal-Pongala
|Attukal Ponkala, Thruvanabthapuram, Kerala. holidayplans.co.in|
This year the festival was held with more religious fervor than before by the devotees who came in large number in this part of Kerala, despite the threats of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) scare. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel closed the major religious places and also stopped the entry of foreign tourists in the wake of Coronavirus. But in India all the major temples are open and the devotees attend the rituals, etc without any fear or anxiety, thus submitting themselves to their fate. However, their strong belief has been that the ''Almighty above us will take care of their lives'' and with strong faith in the power above us, they keep moving forward. In this respect more resolute are the devote Hindu women. Without any fear or tension, millions of Indian women attended one of the popular Hindu festivals of Kerala near the state capital. Attukal Pongala was celebrated this year as usual with lots of interest and deep devotion.
Kappukettu’ ritual was held at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple on Sunday, thus marking the beginning of the 10-day Pongala festival here. The main event Attukal Pongala took place on March 9 with the lighting of pongala hearths by 10.20 am and sanctification by 2.10 pm.
|Attukal Ponkala, Thruvanabthapuram, Kerala. /itempurl.com|
The Thiruvananthapuram district administration did not want to take any chances as roughly 4 million devotees were expected to celebrate Pongla by making the offering in the area around the temple.They deployed the Inter-Agency Group (IAG) for emergency response and crowd management. Roughly, 250 well-trained volunteers were part of it to deal with emergencies during the pongala. They were given the task of maintaining proper public health activities including ensuring hygiene, giving medical aid for patients with symptoms, etc.
The inauguration of stage programs held as part of the festival was by actor Anu Sithara by 6.30 pm on Sunday. It is to be known that two important offerings are made during the festival as usual and they are are Thalappoli and Kuthiyottam. The Thalappoli, an offering made by young girls below the age of 10 to seek the blessings of the goddess was held simultaneously with the Pongala on March 9.
As for Kuthiyottam, it is a dance ritual mainly offered by young boys between the age group of 6-12 years for the goddess. On the third day of the festival, these boys must observe austerity at the temple and would accompany the goddess in her procession to the Sastha Temple on the night of Pongala after “Chooralkuthu’ ceremony.
Yet another interesting event is the festival of Vilakkukettu. believed to be a catchy one well decorated structures bearing idols and pictures of the goddess are reverentially carried to the temple by the devotees from different parts of the city. But the procession would begin on the first day. The ceremonial removal of Kappu (Kappu Azhippu) would mark the end of this festival and the Kuruthi Tharppanam on the concluding day. Among many special instructions by the district administration, the devotees were advised not to bring plastic cover, disposable paper/plastic cups/plates, bottles etc. Further, they were advised to use steel plates/cups/water bottles to avoid polluting the surrounding. Yet another instruction was avoiding non-fired bricks for preparing Pongala.