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It is the most important festival of the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram and is attended by millions of women from around the country. The Attukal Pongala festival, which holds the Guinness record for being the largest single gathering of women for a religious activity is expected to be attended by 40 lakh women today. Also Read - Kerala: Mentally-challenged Man Beaten up, Genitals Burnt, Over Suspicion of Stealing Mobile, Wallet

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Women had already begun to congregate in large numbers on Monday to participate in the festival, which involves offering pongal, a sweet dish made out of rice and jiggery, to the goddess at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. The devotees make the sweet from the scratch along the streets outside the temple using material such as firewood and utensils and all the ingredients they carry from their homes.

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Participation in the festival is restricted exclusively to women and last year Attukal Pongala festival attracted estimated 3.5 million women. This year, four million (or 40 lakh) women devotees are expected to attend the festival. The festival entered the Guinness World Records in 2009 for being a religious activity that was attended by the most number of women.

The Attukal Pongala festival is held in the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram and is dedicated to Kannaki (Parvathi) the presiding deity of the temple.

3500 policemen have been deployed to monitor traffic and security in and around the temple and the state government has announced a holiday today in the Thiruvananthapuram district. The Kerala assembly session has also taken a two-day break.

According to reports, the festival is popular not just among the Hindus but also among foreign women tourists.

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