Spiritual Tourism XXII - Heavens on Earth-
The Attukal Devi Temple, Trivandrum
This great Temple is known as the Sabari Mala
for women, with devotees increasing year after year. Here the most famous
offering is the Pongala or rice porridge to the Mother Divne. In 1997, 1.5
million women offered Pongala, in 2009, 2.5 million and in 2013, 3.7 million !
Thou art the Primal
The Cause of all Multiverses !
And the triune attributes of Nature
Also the impulses of Creative Intelligence
Thy Play is unknown
Even to the Trinity !
The Universe is only Thy infinitesimal expression
Thou, Manifestation of the Unmanifest 1
Hethu Samastha Jagatham Trigunabhi Devai
Na Njayase Hariharidhi apyapara
Sarvasrayakhilam idam jagatamsa bhoota
Avyakritha hi parama Prakritisthvam Adya
Without Prakriti's Grace, no salvation is possible. Purusha is transcendental, He is always Himself and other than His becomings ! So it is the prudentest of courses that She be worshipped. Here Her aspect is that of the the Mother Goddess beyond the Trinity and empowered to give both Bhukti, material prosperity and Mukti, Spiritual Bliss !
Pongala ( on the Karthika ( Pleiades) Day of Makara - Kumbha, Feb - Mar )
In 2013, 3.7 million women offered Pongala to Deity. Normally it is done in a radius of 7 kms and it turns the entire city of Trivandrum into a divine ground. On Pongala Day, all buses from the city are reserved of women only !
Pongala takes place on the 9th day of the ten day festival. Other activities include Kappukettu, a musical recitation of the story of Goddess Kannagi. It goes on for the first nine days. The Goddess annihilates the villanous Pandya King, symbolising the conquest of Truth over Untruth, Justice over Injustice, Good over Evil.
This is a ritual performed by boys, who observe a seven day penance. They are the soldiers of the Goddess who slew the demon, Mahishasura.
This is a ritual performed by girls, who hold a round tray with flowers, a lighted lamp and offerings to Deity, on the ninth day of the festival.
The procession of Deity
The Kuthiyottam boys accompany Deity on a procession to a nearby Sastha Temple. The devotees throng either side of the road, welcoming Her. After short poojas at the Ayyappa temple, the Deity returns to Attukal ! The ten day festival concludes with a pooja called Kuruthi Tharpanam.
By Govind Kumar