The famous Attukal Pongala festival, in which lakhs of women from across the state take part, was held in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri
Lakhs of women in Kerala take part in the Attukal Pongala festival by cooking Pongala while sitting on the roads in the capital city. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri
Listed in the Guinness World Records for being an event where the largest number of women gather to take part to offer prayers on a single day, the festival now seeing women participating from other religions as well. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri
The pongala event (cooking rice porridge) takes place on the penultimate day of the 10-day-long Attukal Pongala festival.
Women prepare their 'Pongala' offering near the Kairali-Sree Theater on Friday. Photo: Manoj Chemacheriyil
Several women were camping on the temple premises since Tuesday night to ensure a spot for making the offering. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri
The Kerala capital is breathing the air of piety as lakhs of women take part in the annual Pongala offering at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple on Friday. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri
Women prepare their 'Pongala' offering near the Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station on Friday. Photo: Manoj Chemancheriyil
Various clubs and social organization are offering assistance required in terms of free refreshment and transport to the women who have come from far.
The temple fire is passed on to the stoves of women who line up on either side of the roads and cook their offering using rice, jaggery and coconut. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri
The rituals on Friday began around 10.15 a.m when the chief priest of the temple lit the makeshift stove with fire brought from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
The festival comes to a close when around 2.15 pm, the women wait for the chief priest to sprinkle holy water on the offering, for which the temple have authorized 500 priests to go around the places. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri
The most prestigious seat for cooking is in the temple compound and women reserve their place to cook prior to the festival day. Photo: Rinkuraj Mattancheriyil
According to temple authorities, the several lakhs of women come to the city for cooking the Pongala. They cover more than a 10-sq km radius from the temple.
Attukal Bhagavathi temple is located in the heart of the city, and is believed to be an incarnation of Kannaki, the central character of the Tamil epic 'Silapathikaram'. Photo: Rinkuraj Mattancheriyil
According to legend, Kannaki destroyed Madurai in Tamil Nadu after the king of Madurai wrongfully imposed the death penalty on her husband. After that, Kannaki traveled to Kerala, where she rested for a while at Attukal and women are said to have cooked 'Pongala' to please her. Photo: Rinkuraj Mattancheriyil
The women who take part in this festival dress up in new clothes.
The state-owned transport department and the Indian Railways have made special arrangements for the women, who participate in the festival.
Hundreds of women police officials have been deployed to ensure the festival goes peacefully, besides volunteers and senior police officials. Photo: Rinkuraj Mattancheriyil
Drone surveillance, women commando wing and CCTV surveillance are among the arrangements made by the police. Photo: Rinkuraj Mattancheriyil