Women in thousands converge for ‘Attukal pongala’ fest

via www.keralakaumudi.com published on March 2, 2007

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Women in thousands began to pour into the city since yesterday afternoon ahead of today’s ‘Pongala’ festival of the famous Attukal Bhagavathi temple, which made it to the Guinness Book of records as the single largest devotional gathering of women.

The whole city appeared to be on the move as a steady stream of women began arriving from far-flung rural areas to find a place on the city roads and streets to perform the ritual today morning.

The ‘pongala’ ritual comprises preparing a prasadam of rice and jaggery in earthen pots to be offered to the Goddess seeking divine blessings.

Despite elaborate crowd control arrangements made by police and state agencies, the influx of devotees often threw up traffic snarls in busy areas during the day.

Hundreds of police personnel and fire tenders have been deployed for the smooth conduct of the festival and religious voluntary forums have stepped in to help the devotees.

Hailed as ‘Women’s Sabarimala’, Pongala found its way into the Guinness book of records as the festival that attracts over a million women on a single day.

According to temple authorities, the recognition was based on the 1997 turnout of over 1.5 million. The turnout has steadily been going up every year since then.

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