Bigger hearts mark Pongala this year

Manacaud Valiyapalli offered the grounds of the mosque for Pongala hearths to be set up.

Thiruvananthapuram: Attukal Pongala got bigger, not just because of the turnout of devotees, but because of the messages underlying it. The event put focus on harmony and unity, as people, irrespective of their religious or political identities, converged in Thiruvananthapuram to participate in or support the event.

Manacaud Valiyapalli offered the grounds of the mosque for Pongala hearths to be set up. Santhi Samithi, an organisation which encourages secular values, provided buttermilk to devotees. Archbishop Soosai Pakiam of the Latin Catholic Church inaugurated the programme and poet Sugathakumari presided. Major Archbishop Baselios Cardinal Cleemis offered buttermilk at Major Archbishop House, Pattom.

Some offerings were notable for the prayers. A group of employees prayed for the continuation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s term and his good health at KSRTC Vikas Bhavan Depot. However, while being reluctant to criticise him, some of them said that they had been employed as contract workers for a decade and hoped that their jobs were regularised.

Reports from various quarters suggest that it was a cleaner, greener pongala. Cleaning personnel fielded by the Corporation had come prepared for a massive amount of waste, but were pleasantly surprised that this time it was lesser.

50 lakh women:
Sources at the temple said that close to 50 lakh women offered Pongala. The rituals at the temple began with tantri Thekkedath Parameshwaran Bhattathiripad handing over the light to melsanthi S Arunkumar Namboothiri.

The melsanthi lit the hearths inside the temple complex and handed over the fire to the saha melsanthi. The latter lit the special hearth set up in front of the temple at 10 am, and devotees started preparing their offering.

“This year the pongala area was spread out to areas like Venpalavattom, Shanghumugham, Veli route, ahead of Thirumala and Airport,” said the Mayor.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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