Attukal Pongala begins

via kaumudi.com published on March 6, 2012

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Attukal pongala festival got off to a rapturous start this morning with the temple’s tantri Chenas Dineshan Namboodiri handing over the sacred flame from inside the sanctum sanctorum to melsanthi Goshala Vishnu Vasudevan Namboodiri and who in turn lighted the traditional hearth in the presence of hundreds of worshippers.

Almost simultaneously, lakhs of women devotees lit the small hearths they had set up on roadsides to cook rice and jiggery, which they would offer as a sacrament later in the afternoon to propitiate the presiding deity of the ancient Attukal Devi temple. The flame from the sacred hearth inside the temple precincts was passed on quickly in several directions.

Many devotees lit their brick hearths, taking a cue from the loud clashing of cymbals, joyous incantations and bursting of crackers emanating from inside the temple and transmitted to other parts of the city through loudspeakers. Many others received text messages and mobile phone calls signaling that the auspicious time for lighting the hearth was at hand.

The pongala would be sanctified by sprinkling holy water by temple priests at 2.30 pm.

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