Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Attukal Devi's procession back to temple

The procession of the goddess

The goddess, Attukal Amma arrives at the Sastha temple along with her cavalry, the kuthiyottams. She pays tribute to her brother the Dharmasastha of Manacaud and returns to temple. The kuthiyottam that arrive along with the procession rest the whole night around the Sastha Temple, Manacaud.


Offering prayers to Dharmasastha

Kuthiyottam arrives in procession from Attukal temple to Sastha temple, Manacaud, accompanying the goddess. The kuthiyottams are considered as the cavalry of the goddess. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The finale

The pongala pots are finally sanctified with the holy water, which is regarded as goddess's acknowledgement and blessings. 

Pongala pot boils over

Pongala pot boils giving salvation or moksha for the devotee; it is believed that the pongala pot should boil over, and also regarded as good omen.

Offering rice for devi

Kadumpayasam, a preparation with boiled rice, jaggery, ghee  and spices, is the traditional offering for goddess Durga. Along with that boiled white rice is also offered.

The city becomes yagasala

The fumes from the pongala stoves (aduppu) and the devotion to goddess has made the city of Thiruvananthapuram to a yagasala. The massive ritual that evokes a sense of unity, eternal feelings love and care has made the urban habitat to a village that thrives in its pristine values of goodness and hospitatlity.

Fire and smoke every where

The earthern pongala pot that represent earth, the divine fire, water, air and the sky that fills everywhere takes part in this metaphorical representation of the 'cosmic cooking'

Lighting the sacred fire

Now its time to light the stove; fire, smoke and itchy feeling of the eye, all gives a sublime pleasure

Bringing the sacred fire

Getting fire from the nilavilakku in front of Sastha Temple, Manacaud
Fire  for lighting the pongala aduppu (stove) is passed from firewood  to firewood (commonly husk of coconut tree) to the million women who gather around the temple to offer pongala.

Busy time

The stoves (aduppu) are ready and its busy time, mixing rice powder with jaggery and green gram powder for making mandapputtu, a favourite offering for Attukal amma.

Pongala morning

Scenes in front of Sastha temple, Manacaud
Come morning, it breaks out with the rays of sublime happiness. You will never feel the lethargy of the sleepless night, with a bath in the  morning you would attain an irresistable energy, that withstands even the hottest sun. Its Attukal pongala day, and there is happiness and smiles everywhere. You are in your best, the  pongala saree and you are a woman altogether, who is prepared to cook for the entire universe. Attukal pongala demands that divine will, or you will gather it when you are one among a million women. Now its time for preparation of your stove (aduppu), cleaning rice, grating coconut and grinding jaggery. And the long wait to light the aduppu....

Monday, February 22, 2016

Early birds

Bricks have already lined the lanes of the Pongala city, a scene in front of the Sastha temple, Manacaud.

Last minute touch

A youth beautifying the idols

For a living

Attukal pongala festival is also point of sale for women in the unorganised sector, who make a living selling their craft products. Also a reminder of the old muram and vatti

Pongala shopping

Shopping is craze here in this all women world, there is nothing that you do not want, curios and curiosity, coupled with a spirit of freedom. lets you free, makes you mad...its pongala shopping

Everything to woo women

A street vendor on the Attakkulangara stretch. From hair pins to foot wear, pongala festival is also a market place that woo women with every thing they want

Pots adorn roads

Pongala is also a festival of pots, the pot links the ether with earth and fire. Its a metaphor of the eternal creation.