Attukal Pongala ritual held at the
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple at Attukal near in Kerala is the largest
gathering of women in the world in a single place on a single day. The story of
Attukal Pongala is associated with the Silappathikaram – the Epic of the
Anklet. The Goddess worshipped at Attukal temple is Kannagi who is the
incarnation of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Hindu God Shiva. It is a place
of Shakti worship. Trivandrum
Kannagi is the heroine of famous Tamil poem Silappathikaram - the Epic of the Anklet. The story has it that Kannagi’s husband Kovalan was unjustly put to death by the ruler of
the anklet of the queen. Kannagi proves the innocence of her husband at the
court and in anger sets the entire Madurai city
on fire. She then leaves the Madurai
city and departs for Kodungalloor – an important Shakti worship center. Madurai
Burning everything on her way, Goddess enters the place Attukal. No power in the world could stop her.
Legend has it that children and women of the Attukal area welcomed her and cooked for her porridge. The anger of Kannagi subsided and she appeared in the ever-loving motherly form. In memory of this event, women cook porridge for her every year.
The Origin of the
It is said that the Goddess appeared as a child before an elderly man who was performing his evening oblations at the
. The child wanted to cross the
river but the old man was surprised to see a small girl at that odd time. So,
he helped her in crossing the river and decided to take her home. Couple of
minutes after reaching home, the young girl was not to be seen. During that
night, Goddess appeared in the dream of the old man and told him that she had
drawn three lines in a sacred grove nearby and she would like to reside there.
Next morning, the old man went to the place and to his surprise found three
marks at the suggested place. He built a small temple there and as time passed
the Goddess brought prosperity to the region and the local people renovated the
shrine to the present status. Killi River
People believe that the Goddess showers her blessings on women and children. She suffered injustice and her suffering symbolizes the suffering of women in all ages. The goddess provides strength to overcome the numerous impediments. Children like her because she appeared in the form of a child and the Goddess has a special place for children in her mind.
At the temple, Mother Goddess is worshipped both in child form and in woman form.