Photograph courtesy: keralatourism.org
Festivities around the Attukal Pongala, the most important festival of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, begin in the Malayalam month of Makaram-Kumbham, which typically falls in February or March. Like all temple festival, the Attukal Pongala celebrations begin with a musical rendition. Also Read - Kerala: Mentally-challenged Man Beaten up, Genitals Burnt, Over Suspicion of Stealing Mobile, Wallet
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This rendition, performed by specific families who have been performing for generations, narrates the story of goddess (Kannaki Charitam) during the Kappukettu ceremony. The singing continues for nine days that precede Pongala. The highlight of this rendition is the part where the Goddess annihilates the Pandyan king when the volume of the temple drums reaches a frenetic pace and high decibels. Ballets, musical concerts and bhajan performances are some of the other highlights of Attukal Pongala as are the beautiful floats of the deity that attract a lot of devotees. Also Read - India's First Visually-Impaired Woman IAS Officer Takes Charge as Sub-Collector in Kerala
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The ninth day of Attukal Pongala is the most important day. All roads in Thiruvananthapuram lead to the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple with hundreds and thousands of women devotees converging here to pay their respects to the goddess. This is also what makes Thiruvananthapurams Attukal Pongala in the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple so unique — that the ceremony is exclusively restricted to the womenfolk.
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In fact the Attukal Pongala has even earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest single gathering of women for a religious activity. Held at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram about two km from the famous the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the festival is celebrated to appease the goddess who cursed the city of Madurai after her husband was wrongfully beheaded by the king.
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