Lakhs of women offer Pongala at Sabarimala of Women

via PNS | Alappuzha published on December 1, 2009

Lakhs of women devotees prepared and offered Pongala (rice porridge) to the goddess of Chakkulathukavu temple, also known as the Sabarimala of Women, at Neerettupuram in Alappuzha district of Kerala on Tuesday. The women prepared the Pongala in new earthen pots with rice and jaggery on hearths set in the courtyard and the streets.

The festival at the temple would come to a close on December 18 with Naree Pooja (worship of woman), which would start with chief priest Radhakrishnan Namboothiri washing the feet of senior BJP leader Sushma Swraj. After this, the feet worship of thousands of women would also take place.

The Pongala festival on Tuesday started with the chief priest kindling the main hearth, where the temple’s own Pongala was prepared, with the Diya brought from the sanctum sanctorum. Following this, lakhs of women from all religions and social strata kindled their hearths set on all roads leading out of the temple in a 20-km radius to prepare Pongala. The festival was being held on the Karthika day of month Vrischika of the Malayalam calendar.

With the ritual of offering the Pongala from the main hearth to the goddess in the sanctum sanctorum, more than 300 priests sprinkled water on the lakhs of hearths, making it the divine Prasadam of the deity. The rush of the devotees had started on Monday itself as they competed among themselves to get the nearest spots to the temple to set the heaths.

The Pongala festival of the day came to a close in the evening with the kindling of the Karthika Sthambham, the giant traditional lamp, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. The cultural conference that followed was inaugurated by Kodikkunnil Suresh MP and the chief guest was Oscar winner Resul Pookkutty.

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