Thiruvananthapuram: The Pongala Festival at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is scheduled to start on February 17 this year, as announced by temple officials in a press conference. The ten-day-long festivities will commence with the traditional ‘Kappukettu’ and ‘Kudiyiruthu’ ceremonies at 8:00 in the morning.
The highlight of the festival, Attukal Pongala, is slated for February 25. At 10:30 am, the lighting of the hearth at ‘Thidappally’ will be conducted by the Melsanthi. The Pongala ritual will culminate after the ‘Ucha Puja’ at 2:30 pm. The festival will draw to a close on the night of the 26th at 12:30 am with the ‘Kuruthi Tharpanam’ ceremony.
Officials of the Attukal Temple Trust assured that all preparations for the festival have been completed. On the third day of the Pongala festival, the ‘Kuthiyotta Vratham’ will commence, with 606 boys having registered for ‘Kuthiyottam’, this year. ‘Thalappoli’, a ritual by girls under the age of ten, will also be observed on the day of Pongala.
The ninth day of the festival will witness the goddess’s procession to the Manacaud Dharma Sastha Temple after Pongala, accompanied by artistic performances, Kuthiyottam boys, and an armed police escort.
Concluding on the 26th, the festival’s final day will feature cultural programmes followed by the ceremonial removal of the “Kappu” at 9:45 pm. The Pongala festival will conclude with the ‘Kuruthi Tharpanam’ ceremony at 12:30 am.
Artistic performances will take place at Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika venues, with renowned film star Anusree inaugurating the cultural programmes on the 17th at 6 pm.
Trust officials also announced during the press conference that the Attukal Amba award will be presented to the distinguished writer George Onakkoor.
Temple dignitaries including Chairman S Venugopal, President V Shobha, Secretary Sarathkumar K, Vice President Krishnan Nair PK, Joint Secretary Anumod S, Treasurer Geethakumari A, Ponkala Mahotsavam General Convenor Sisupalan Nair K, Joint General Convener Vijayakumar AL, and Publicity Committee convener D Chitralekha were present at the press conference.