Earthen pots are heaped in every corner of the city roads ahead of the Attukal Pongala to be offered on Sunday. Pot makers have arrived from the border areas of Parassala, as well as from Marthandam and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu to sell their ware, even though there are local vendors too.
Though modern lifestyle has influenced people to prefer stainless steel utensils over those made of mud for day-to-day use, a festival such as Pongala reminds them about the importance of making ‘payasam’ in an earthen pot, thus keeping a tradition and the pot industry alive. A very few prefer to prepare the Pongala offering in a stainless steel utensil citing its long life and ease of handling.
Attukal Pongala festival is the week when the pockets of the pot traders become full. But, according to a woman seller of earthen pots, even though these pots have been an integral part of Pongala for ages, there have been fewer buyers this year, till Thursday. However, the traders expect the sales to pick up in the coming days.
Rows of pot sellers can be seen in every part of the city, especially in East Fort, Manacaud and places near Attukal Temple during the festival week. The earthen pots arrived in the city a few days ago. Pots coming from Nagercoil and Marthandam are known for their good quality. “I have brought as many as 6,000 pots from Nagercoil and around 1,000 pots have been sold so far. In the next two days I expect the maximum sales,” said Chandrika, a pot seller.
Every year, the prices of the earthen pots rise by at least Rs 20. A small pot now costs Rs 40, while the big earthen pot costs Rs 120. “Making an earthen pot takes a toll on the potters as it is a tedious process. The younger generation is reluctant to take up the occupation,” said Bhagavathy, a pot seller from Marthandam.
Meanwhile, another trader near Attukal Devi Temple said that the pots will be sold off by Friday noon.