Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is renowned for the annual Attukal Pongala festival, in which over three million women participate.A festival that has figured in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the single largest gathering of women for a religious activity, the Attukal Pongala continues to draw millions of women with each passing year.
The Parvathi is the main deity in this temple. The mythology behind the temple relates to the story of Kannagi who was married to Kovalan, son of a wealthy merchant. After marriage, Kovalan met a dancer Madhavi and spent all his riches on her forgetting his wife. But when he was penniless, he went back to Kannagi. The only precious thing left to be sold was Kannagi's pair of anklets. They went with it to the king of Madurai to sell it. But an anklet was stolen from the Queen which looked similar to Kannagi's.
When Kovalan tried to sell it, he was mistaken for the theft and beheaded by the king's soldiers. Kannagi got infuriated when she heard the news and rushed to the King with the second pair of an anklet. She broke one of the anklets and it contained rubies while the Queen's contained pearls. She cursed the city of Madurai, and it is said that due to her chastity, the curse came true. Kannagi is said to have attained salvation after the Goddess of the city appeared before her. It is said that on her way to Kodungallur, Kannagi passed Attukal.
She took the form of a little girl. An old man was sitting on the banks of a stream when the girl went to him and asked him whether he could help her cross it. Surprised to find the young girl alone, he took her home. But she disappeared. She came back in his sleep and asked him to build a temple where he found 3 golden lines in his grove. He went ahead and did the same, and it is said that this is at the location of the present Attukal temple.
The temple is built with elements of Kerala architectural style and Tamil architectural style as well. The exteriors are carved with hundreds of adorable sculptures. The stories of Dasavatharam, Dakshayaga also are carved in the temple. Tha main building also comprises of Goddess Kali, Goddess Parvathy, Lord Shiva, Goddess Sri Rajarajeswari and several others.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Thiruvananthapuram
Attukal Pongala is the main festival of this temple. Attukal Pongala Mahotsavam is a 10 days festival which falls on February - March every year (Malayalam month of Kumbham). The festival begins on the Karthika star with the traditional Kappukettu and Kudiyiruthu ceremony, the idol of Devi, is embellished with Kappu (Bangles). The 9th day of the festival is a major attraction, The Attukal Pongala day and the festival will conclude with the Kuruthitharpanam at 10th day night.
Attukal pongala Millions of women gather every year in the month of Kumbham around this temple and prepare Pongala in the open in small pots to please the Goddess Kannaki. Pongala (literally means to boil over) is a ritualistic offering of a sweet dish, consisting of rice porridge, sweet brown molasses, coconut gratings, nuts and raisins. It is done as an offering to the presiding deity of the temple - the Goddess - popularly known as Attukal Amma. Only women are allowed to participate in the Pongala ritual.