Thousands of women offered ‘pongala’ at Karikkakom Chamundi Temple on Friday. The ‘pongala’ rituals started after the temple tantri, Puthiyannur Illath Narayanan Anujan Nampoothiripad, lit the main hearth. The fire was then passed on to thousands of hearths in a radius of three kilometres of the temple, marking the second biggest gathering of women in the district.
Women had started arriving on Thursday evening onwards to offer ‘pongala’ from many parts of the district. Pongala hearths extended to near ITI, Chackai in the south, to World Market, Anayara in the north, to Venpalavattom Devi Temple in the east and to Titanium in the west.
The tantri sprinkled holy water on ‘pongala’ pots at 2.30 pm.
At the same time, a helicopter showered flower petals.
UDF candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in the Lok Sabha elections Shashi Tharoor, Devaswom and Health Minister V S Sivakumar, Mayor K Chandrika and M A Vahid MLA were present at the ritual.
Elaborate arrangements were put in place for the event. Around 500 volunteers and 300 police personnel were deployed to ensure the successful and safe conduct of the ritual.
Around 200 men and 20 women from CRPF Pallippuram were also deployed for duty, apart from the police. Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajitha Beegum monitored the arrangements. Five ambulances were stationed on the temple premises to take care of emergency medical needs. KSRTC conducted extra services to help the devotees turn up for the event.