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The annual Attukal Pongala festival in Kerala began with the lighting of Pandara Aduppu -the main hearth along with the lighting of thousands of brick hearths. The gathering of women devotees holds significance in times when the State is battling against COVID-19.

About

  1. This festival is held annually in Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
  2. Attukal Pongala is described as the biggest congregation of women.
  3. It is also known as the Women’s Sabarimala.
  4. The festival is observed for a period of 10 days.
  5. On the day of Pongala, thousands of women converge in the city and prepare sweetened rice called ‘Pongala’ on fresh earthen pots and offer to the Goddess, while seeking divine blessings.
  6. As per the local tradition, The divine form of Kannagi, the female protagonist of the Tamil classic 'Silappadikaram',  is the presiding deity of the shrine.
    1. According to temple legends, this festival commemorates the event of hospitality shown by women in the Attkual village to Kannagi.
    2. Kannagi was on her way to Kodungallur in central Kerala after burning the ancient city of Madurai to avenge the injustice done to Kovalan.

Silappadikaram

  1. Silappadikaram along with Manimekhalai , the two Sangam texts are accorded the status of Tamil Epics.
    1. Silappadikaram was written by Ilango Adigal in the second century A.D. while Manimekalai was written by Sithalai Sathanar during the 5th century.
    2. They narrate the story in a continuous form of a family in which the male protagonist is Kovalan (the rich merchant prince of Puhar), and the female protagonist is Kannagi (Kovalan’s chaste wife).
    3.  Other characters are Madhavi (the dancer) with whom Kovalan lived in wedlock and Manimekalai, the child born out of wedlock.
  2.  Silappatikaram is a poetic rendition which has details of Tamil culture including religions practiced, town plans and city types, assimilation of different people, and art forms. 
  3. It contains three chapters and 5270 lines of poetry in total. 
  4. The epic revolves around its protagonist Kannagi, who having lost her husband to a miscarriage of justice at the court of the Pandyan Dynasty, wreaks her revenge on his kingdom.

Also readZero Waste City Thiruvananthapuram

Harvest Festivals Of Makar Sankranti And Pongal

Source

Image Source: The Hindu