Monday, March 1, 2010

Tired, yet strong

Lunch time

Women rush back to their pongala pots after getting free food
offerred by the voluntary organizations

Pongala service

Many private buses and autorickshaws in the city offered free trip to
women on Pongala day. Autorickshaws wait to offer free trip from
Palayam to Vattiyoorkavu

Attukal Pongala's secular symbols

Pongala in front of the LMS church, Palayam. Vehicles that carried
women to Pongala are parked inside the church premises

Pongala in front of the Palayam mosque

When city turned a village

After making pongala, time to relax

Fun with the family

A relief from the scorching sun

Onathinidayile puttukachavadam !

Making mandapputtu

Preparing the dough

Making balls

Carving out face with fingers

The human face in the mandapputtu

Mandapputtu is another snack made during pongala as an offering to bhagavati. It is believed that offering mandapputtu will relieve you from all problems related to head. Mandapputtu is prepared from a mix of green gram, rice flour and jaggery. The dough is first prepared with aboveingredients and then made to balls. A human face will be carved out in these balls using fingers. The balls are then steam cooked.

The smoke screen

Making therali appam

Roll the vayana leaf to a conical shape

Fill the cone with dough

Place the filled cones in a steam cooker

Steam cook for twenty minutes and therali is ready
Therali is one of the sweet smelling snack offered to the goddess. Therali appam is usually made during pongala and on festivals like Sivarathri. Rice powder, jaggery, banana, cardamom, grated coconut, ghee and vayana (therali) leaf are the required stuff to make this sweet snack. Mix all the ingredients together with a small amount of water to make the dough. Roll the vayana leaves like a cone and fill them with dough. Steam cook for 20-25 minutes.

Scenes from Pongala

While the Pongala boils

It is customary to make kurava when the pongala boils. The new generation does not know how to make a kurava and most of the women ignore it. Kurava is still a domain of the old generation

The pongala pot boils over

Offering pongala

Boiling the water

Praying to the goddess before putting the rice

Putting the rice in the boiling water

Praying to goddess while the rice boils

Pongala pot boils over

The making of Pongala

The pongala pots are ready

Waiting for the fire

Getting the fire

Lighting the fire

Celebration of womanhood

Pongala pots lined every nook and corner of Thiruvananthapuram city, and it was a celebration of womenhood, transforming the metropolis to a large kitchen.

Pongala's psychology

Women wait for the official announcement to light the fire
Pongala gathers millions every year. It is the greatest gathering of women on earth who come to ward of their agonies offering pongala to Attukal Bhagavati. In modern terms it can be called a mass psychological counselling session. Pongala is a purgation of emotion and a catharsis takes place, leaving the mind calm and clean.

Millions offer Attukal Pongala

Millions of women offered Attukal Pongala as a tribute to Attukal Bhagavati. Pongala explores the inner chemistry of the body, mind and soul recharging the devotee with a sublime happiness, purifies the mind and make her spiritually and mentally equipped to face the challenges of the future.