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Varanad Devi Temple Pongala Festival near Cherthala

Varanad Devi Temple is located at Varanad near Cherthala in Alappuzha District, Kerala. The temple is located around 5 km from Cherthala. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Jagadambika. The ritual is annually held on Makara Bharani or the Bharani star date in Makaram month.

'Pongala' ritual comprises of preparing ‘prasad’ for the deity outside the shrine. Women cook rice and jaggery in earthen pots and they offer it to the Goddess. They also cook different type of sweet dishes – called ‘mandaputtu,’ ‘appam,’ ‘therali’ – made out of rice powder and jaggery. Coconut tree fronds are used to cook the ‘prasad.’

The temple is decorated during the period with lights, lamp, plantain, coconut fronds, flowers etc.

Holy fire from the temple is taken out to start the fire for cooking Pongala.