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Kalimala – Pongala – Chithirai Pournami – Pathukani

Kalimala is located at Pathukani in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, on the Varambathi Mountain, Sahyadri Mountain Ranges or the Western Ghats. Kalimala Pongala 2024 date is April 23. The temple observes the famous Pongala festival on the Chithirai Pournami day – the full day in Tamil month Chithirai. The shrine is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali.

The temple resembles Dravidian architecture. The other deities worshipped here are Ayyappa or Sastha, Shiva, Ganapathy and Nagas (Serpents).

On the full day in Chithirai Masam (April – May), thousands of women devotees climb the hill and offer pongala – a sweet porridge made using rice and jaggery.

The water for preparing Pongala is collected from Kali Theertham. It is said that Kali Theertham the perennial water source atop the mountain never dries even during the peak summer season. The water is believed to have medicinal properties.

The Theertham appeared here to quench the thirst of Sage Agastya who was doing intense penance. It is also believed that Ayyappa gave darshan to Sage Agastya atop the mountain.

There is also a murti of a five-headed serpent in the temple and it is believed that the serpent was protecting the Sage during and his penance and later turned into a murti.

King Marthanda Varma of Travancore was fleeing from his foes, the Ettuveetil Pillamar, took refuge in the Kalimala. He was protected by a young boy who was none other than Ayyappa. When Marthanda Varma defeated his foes and became the king of Travancore, he built a shrine atop the hill.

From the base of the hill, one has to walk 6 km to get to the temple, out of which 2 km distance comprise forest pathway.

Kalimala is around 5 km Vellarada and is on Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and is around 40 km from Thiruvananthapuram.