Chakkulathukavu Temple Pongala
The famous Hindu festival Chakkulathukavu Pongala, (Chakkulathu Kavu Pongala), is on 9th December 2011. The festival is being held every year at the Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple located at Neerattupuram in the border of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha Districts in Kerala. Chakkulathu Kavu Ponkala is celebrated during the Malayalam month of ‘Vrischikam’ (November - December) on the Thrikarthika day. The word ‘Pongala’ means ‘to boil over’ and this ritual is exclusively performed by women devotees.
On Pongala day the Chakkulathukavu temple premises and the surrounding areas are filled with the devotees. The devotees bring rice, coconut and jaggery and earthen pots for cooking. The temporary hearths made by bricks are kept in lines on either side of the streets. After lighting the main hearth from the sanctum sanctorum by the chief priest, the fire is exchanged to all the hearths of the devotees. Another interesting feature is that every year at the time of lighting the main hearth, a Brahminy Kite eagle flies round at the sky. Devotees believe that this is the blessing of Chakkulathamma or Goddess Bhagavathi.
At the end, there is a ritual of burning the Karthika Stambam (pillar) which is made of dried leaves of coconut tee, banana, elanhi (a tree usually found in temple premises), old clothes and crackers.
History of Chakkulathukavu Pongala
According to legends, Chakkulathukavu Devi Temple in the forest was created by a tribal family. As they were busy involved in the temple work, they were not able to prepare their food in time. Feeling dejected, they prayed Goddess Bhagawathi and moved out to prepare the food. To their surprise, they found their utensils full of prepared food. The family realized that the food was prepared by the Goddess and they prayed her to save them from all evils. At that moment, a revelation stated that the food was prepared by the Goddess for them and that she was happy with the ardent devotion of the family. Today’s Pongala festival is celebrated to comemorate this holy event.