Saturday, 10 December, 2011

Thousands of women participated in Chakkulathukavu Pongala


KOTTAYAM: The famous Pongala in Chakkulathukavu Sri Bhagavathi Temple known as women’s Sabarimala at Neerattupuram in Alappuzha was staged with all religious fervor and gaiety today and tens of thousands of women participated in the solemn ceremony.

Unprecedented rush was experienced this year. KSRTC opened a temporary stand near the temple and operated special service from different centres.

The ceremony commenced with the lighting of lamp by chief priest Radhakrishnan Namboodiri at 0900 hrs. The chief priest lighted the main hearth from the divine fire inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple after the inaugural ceremony and prayer at 0950 hrs.

Later, the fire was exchanged from one Pongala oven to another arranged in an area of 60 km from the temple on the sides of all roads.

Pongala is a devout offering made of rice, coconut and jaggery by women devotees in round earthen pots. The origin of the ritual related to the story of a hunter. The hunter and family members cooked their food in earthen pots and they used to set apart a part of their food as an offering to their Goddess.

One day they were very late to return home after collecting wood from the jungle. They felt extremely sad that they could not offer food to the Devi. When they rushed to cook the food they found to their surprise that all the earthen pots were filled with cooked food and fruits. It is believed that it was the Goddess herself who cooked the food for them.

Pongala was a symbolic reminder of this age-old incident. Woman devotees prepare food as a humble offering to the mother on this day every year. This day was considered as a time when the glory of the Goddess was at is peak.

In his discourse referring to Mullaperiyar issue, the chief priest said that Keralites and Tamilians were the children of Devi. They should not quarrel each other for life and livelihood.

Government should find a solution to the problem immediately, he said.

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