I dedicate this post at those beautiful lotus-petal- like feet of that great power, just like I have laid my humble life at her disposition . It is impossible to separate my life from Pavakkulam temple . My every breath and every step belongs to Lord Shiva and Parvathi who resides there .
Pongala is being conducted at Pavakkulam temple since 2002 . The ‘Jyothi’ taken from Attukal was merged with the ever lit lamp (kedaavilakku ) in front of Devi (Pavakkulathamma ).
I was fortunate enough to participate in all of them except one or two . I remember the first few years when my father and hubby would go early in the morning like 3-4 am to get tickets for me and mother to put pongala inside the temple premises .
Taking part in Pongala is an unique experience . The ‘ Noyambu ‘ which is usually observed at least two days before or even more disciplines your mind and body. The preparations for the ceremony is in itself a celebration . And the morning of Pongala is filled with crowds of women beautifully clad in ‘ settu mundu ‘ . The atmosphere resounds with prayers and chants .
Once the lamp is lighted it is all about concentration and your mind is directed towards only one thing ‘ Praseeda Praseeda Parameswari ! ‘ It is a meditation in its own way . When you see the white foam rising to the tip of the pot your heart gets filled with boundless joy . You then see the prosperity and happiness showered upon your family . It feels as though Devi has come to bless you. You feel her just beside you .
Simharoodam trinethraam kara thala vilasath,
Sankha chakrabhi ramyam,
Bhakthabeeshta pradathreem ripu madana kareem,
Sarva lokaika vandhyam,
Nana alankara yuktham sasi yutha makutam,
Durgam devim prapadhye saranamaha asesha apath unmoolanya.
Over the years ‘Pongala at Pavakkulam ‘ has grown in leaps and bounds . And so has the belief. Now it is not allowed inside the temple ground and the roads near will be booked even days before. People come from far off places to take part in this holy ceremony.
This year for the first time it is being conducted in the month of April ( Medam ) along with the festival for 10 days ( From April 8 to April 18 ) . Every day of the festival would be graced with brainstorming – talks where eminent personalities come to share their views on various Hindu ideologies. I am really looking forward to attend all of them .
Then there are all those splendid programmes where a genuine effort has been taken to bring forth the various temple art forms like Theyyam and Chakkiar Koothu , Bharatha natyam , Kuchipudi, Devotional Ballette and more.
Let Jagadamba bless all and make this grand function a great success !
“Amme Narayana Devi Narayana
Lakshmi Narayana Bhadre Narayana “
A few words about Pongala :
The offering of Pongala is a special temple practice prevalent in the southern part of Kerala and some parts of Tamilnadu . The ceremony is exclusively confined to women folk and includes instant cooking of rice with jaggery and coconut (Nivedyam) in the temple premises . Around 9.30 am the Priest lights the hearth in front of the temple amidst prayers and chanting of sacred Mantras. This is then passed on from one woman to the other who light their hearth and prepare “Neivedyam”. At about 12 pm on that day, Priests come out of the temple carrying holy water and sprinkles it one each and every Ponakala pot the women has prepared .This marks the finale of the Ponkala and the devotees then go to the temple and partake in the huge feast ( Prasadamoottu ) conducted here . They then return home with happiness and satisfaction in their mind , but only after making an appeal to the Goddess for Her permission and blessing to participate in next year’s Pongala.