40 lakh women gather to celebrate Attukal Pongala

 Lakhs of women from different parts of Kerala and outside the state converged for the annual Attukal Pongala in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday .

As part of the hugely popular annual event, the devotees paid obeisance to the deity of the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in the capital city. As the traditional offering to the deity, the devotees prepared the sweet dish of boiled rice, jaggery and coconut in earthen pots lined up across the central parts of the city.

The rituals commenced around 10:30 am with the Tantri Chenas Dineshan Namboodiri passing the flame from the sanctum sanctorum to the Melsanthi Neelakandan Namboodiri. After the priests lit the temple hearth, the devotees started preparing the offering. About 300 priests consecrated the pongala offered in different parts of the city in the afternoon. The ten-day pongala festival concluded at the temple, often referred to as the Sabarimala of women, late on Sunday.      The festival has already entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest congregation of women. The Attukal temple authorities put this year’s figure at around 40 lakh devotees.

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