Sunday November 19, 2017
Home India Lakhs of wome...

Lakhs of women in Kerala take part in famed Attukal Pongala festival by cooking pongala while sitting on the roads

0
59
Attukal Pongala festival, Source: Kerala Tourism

Thiruvananthapuram, March 11, 2017: Lakhs of women in Kerala on Saturday are taking part in the famed Attukal Pongala festival by cooking pongala while sitting on the roads in the capital city.

Listed in the Guinness World Records for being an event where the largest number of women gather to take part to offer prayers on a single day, the festival now seeing women participating from other religions as well.

The pongala event (cooking rice porridge) takes place on the penultimate day of the 10-day-long Attukal Pongala festival.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

Attukal Bhagavathi temple is located in the heart of the city, and is believed to be an incarnation of Kannaki, the central character of the Tamil epic “Silapathikaram”.

The most prestigious seat for cooking is in the temple compound and women reserve their place to cook prior to the festival day.

According to temple authorities, it has been a record gathering and is estimated to run into several lakhs as women were found cooking in more than a 10-sq km radius from the temple.

The rituals on Saturday began around 10.45 a.m when the chief priest of the temple lit the makeshift stove with fire brought from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

The temple fire is then passed on to the stoves of women who line up on either side of the roads and cook their offering using rice, jaggery and coconut.

The women who take part in this festival dress up in new clothes.

“My two cousins, one from London and the other from the US come here every year to take part in the ritual. I have dropped both of them at a friend’s place near the temple on Friday. Including me, all my family members are strong believers of Devi and despite the heat, it is amazing to see that the number of devotees every year is on the increase,” said C.P. Shaji, a businessman.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

According to legend, Kannaki destroyed Madurai in Tamil Nadu after the king of Madurai wrongfully imposed the death penalty on her husband.

After that, Kannaki travelled to Kerala, where she rested for a while at Attukal and women are said to have cooked pongala to please her.

“This is my first time and I am here after hearing that wishes have turned true to those who have come and offered pongala. This is something one has to experience and I am feeling so excited after seeing the enthusiasm and the divinity with which each woman is doing this ritual,” said a lady who did not wish to be identified.

The festival comes to a close when around 2.15 p.m., the women wait for the chief priest to sprinkle holy water on the offering, for which the temple have authorised 500 priests to go around the places.

Once this is done, after a small prayer, the women pack their bags and make their way home.

The state-owned transport department and the Indian Railways have made special arrangements for the travellers.

Various state government departments have made arrangements for the festival. Around 1,700 women police officials have been deployed to ensure the festival goes peacefully, besides hundreds of volunteers and senior police officials.

There are more than 1,500 water kiosks that have been set up at various places, in and around the city, where the women have lined up to cook the holy meal.

Various clubs and social organisation are offering assistance required in terms of free refreshment and transport to the women who have come from far. (IANS)

Next Story

Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

0
1590
Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

Next Story

Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

1
144
Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

Next Story

Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

0
35
Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.