Attukal Pongala, an annual ritual at the Attukal Bhagavathy temple in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram for which lakhs of women gather, will be conducted this year just as a temple offering. The Pongala will be held on February 27 this year.
A board meeting of the temple trust on Sunday decided to confine the ritual, of cooking payasam and other sweet dishes to offer the goddess , that would fall in February or March every year, will be limited to the main hearth of the temple only. By this, the Pongala will be made at the main hearth or Pandara Aduppu- a big hearth that is situated inside the temple courtyard. Usually, the main hearth or furnace is lit and the flame is passed on to light other hearths that are set up on roads, public places etc. Lakhs of women from various part of the state, especially from the southern part of Kerala line up on both sides of the road with their hearths.
The Kerala government that is battling rising COVID-19 cases has also said that the pongala will be conducted by strictly following COVID-19 protocol and a limited number of people will be allowed to perform the ritual inside the temple compound. A meeting chaired by Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran also decided that no one would be allowed to offer pongala in public places or roads, but can make the offering from their homes.
Thiruvananthapuram's Attukal Pongala to be held, but with restrictions
"The temple's Board decided to have the offering only from the Pandara Aduppu. But the temple compound is a vast open space, it's not practical to control the number of devotees there. Also, not everyone would be able to come and offer it on the temple compound. Therefore, we decided that all devotees can offer pongala from home," Temple Trust Joint Secretary Ajithkumar NA told TNM.