Event date: 19-02-2014
Venue: Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy Temple at KattukulamLocation: PalakkadDistrict: PalakkadWelcome to a fiesta, which celebrates in all grandiosity an array of art forms in Kerala. Pariyanampetta Pooram, a seven-day annual festival packed with art and entertainment, is a multi-hued event that you shouldn't miss, if you are in Kerala.Celebrated at the Pariyanampetta temple, the presiding deity of which is Bhagavathy or Mother Goddess, the major attraction of the festival is the Kalamezhuthu Pattu. It is a colourful ritual in which the images of the goddesses are drawn on the floor using different coloured powders of natural ingredients. When accompanied by songs, these images conjure a sense of awe among all the devotees and spectators assembled.Art forms like Kathakali and Chakiyarkoothu, representing the cultural heritage of Kerala, are staged during the festival days. The folk art of shadow puppetry called Tholpavakoothu, performed at night, creates a unique ambience during the festival nights. The concluding day of the festival is marked by a ceremonial procession of about 20 elephants. Folk arts like Kaalavela (bull effigy spectacle) and Kuthiravela (horse effigy spectacle) and others like Poothanum Thirayum would transform the procession on the final day into a highly entertaining one.
Nearest railway station: Shornur, about 29 km awayNearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 93 km away
The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, one of the ancient temples of South India, is popularly described as Sabarimala of the Women, as women form the major portion of devotees is located at Attukal. The Goddess in the temple of Attukal is worshipped as the Supreme Mother, creator of all living beings and the mighty preserver as well as destroyer of them all. The pilgrims from all over the country, who visit Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple and worship the Lord, do not consider their visits complete without the visit to the shrine of the supreme Mother Attukalamma.
According to mythology, Attukal Bhagavathy is supposed to be the divinised form of Kannaki, the famous heroine of Chilapathikaram, written by Elenkovadikal, the Tamil Poet. The story goes that after the destruction of ancient city of Madurai, Kannaki left the city and reached Kerala via Kanyakumari and on the way to Kodungalloor took a sojourn at Attukal. Kannaki is supposed to be the incarnation of Parvathy, the consort of Paramasiva. The all powerful and benign Attukal Bhagavathy reigns eternally supreme at Attukal and nurses devotees as a mother does her children. Thousands of devotees from far and near flock to the Temple to bend before the Goddess with awe and reverence to prostrate and redress their affliction and agony.
The Pongala Mahotsavam is the most important festival of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. This festival at Aatukal has been entered into the Guinness book of world records as the largest congregation of women in the world. The offering of Pongala is a special temple practice prevalent in the southern part of Kerala and some parts of Tamil Nadu. It is a ten-day programme commencing on the Karthika star of the Malayalam month of Makaram-Kumbham (February–March) and closing with the sacrificial offering known as Kuruthitharpanam at night. On the ninth day of the festival the world famous Attukal Pongala Mahotsavam takes place. The entire area of about 5 kilometre radius around temple with premises of houses of people of all caste, creed and religion, open fields, roads, commercial institutions, premises of Government offices etc. emerges as a consecrated ground for observing Pongala rituals for more than 4 million women devotees assembling from different parts of Kerala and outside. The ceremony is exclusively confined to women folk and the enormous crowd, which gathers in Thiruvananthapuram on this auspicious day is reminiscent of the Kumbhamela Festival of North India.