Attukal Pongala to break its own Guinness Record

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Attukal Pongala to break its own Guinness Record

IT’S getting bigger every year. On Friday, Ananthapuri once again transformed itself into a divine hearth as lakhs of women from across the State offered pongala to Attukal Devi.

The burning sun and the heat and smoke from the hearths did wither away many, but not the prayers on their lips and the faith in their hearts.

The unending line of hearths laid down to prepare pongala extended to about seven-km radius around the Attukal temple, according to rough estimates.

And the festival has definitely broken its own record in the Guinness Book of World Records for the single largest religious gathering of women.

In 1997, the festival entered the Guinness Book with the participation of 15 lakh devotees and it is expected to have touched 25 lakh this time. Pongala is offered on the ninth day of the ten-day long pongala festival.

As many as 250 priests were part of the pongala rituals this year. The rituals began at 10 a.m. as the thottam pattu narrating the Pandyan King’s death at the hands of Kannaki was over.

Thantri Chennas Dineshan Namboodiripad handed over the fire from the sreekovil to melsanthi Goshala Vishnu Vasudevan Namboothiri.

It was passed on to other hearths in the cheriya thidappalli and valiya thidappalli and then to the pandara aduppu. And from there to the sea of hearths.

Every available space on the roads, railway station, bus stand, premises of offices, private establishments, hotels and bylanes were occupied by women.

The pongala was offered to the Devi by 3 p.m. with the sprinkling of holy water. And the blessed lot made their way home, bringing all forms of traffic to a standstill, with hopes of returning next year.

The chooralkuthu of the boys fasting for kuthiyottam and purathezhunellippu was held in the evening. On Saturday morning, akathezhunellippu will be held.

Kuruthi tharpanam will be held late on Saturday, bringing the 10-day-festival to an end.

To ensure the smooth offering of the pongala, various government agencies, including the police, Railways and KSRTC, had worked in close co-ordination. Around 2,500 policemen and policewomen were deployed this time.

See also...

Holy smoke of pongala festival covers Kerala capital

Attukal Pongala Festival

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