Karnataka

Tamilnadu

Kerala archive



Where ever women are adored the Gods get pleased! Know more about the glowing concepts of

Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathy Temple, AlappuzhaAmbili Raveendran


I am a little excited to write about the Chakkulathkavu Bhagavathy temple. This temple and their distinctive festivals, concepts and rituals always fascinate me. The ‘Naree Pooja’ is a unique concept of the temple. We all hear the famous saying “Where ever women are adored the Gods get pleased”. In fact, it is the concept behind the “Naree Pooja.”This ceremony is meant to respect womanhood and show the importance of women in the family. The temple absorbed several glowing concepts like this. It is important to glorify the women in the family in order to achieve success and prosperity. I know people from other parts of the country may find it a unique or strange ceremony. There are specially arranged seats for this rite where women sit and the main priest washes their feet. They invite a women celebrity every year to honor in this ceremony and Mrs. Nita Ambani was a chief guest for this function a few years back. Find it interesting? Let me explain more about the Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathy temple.


Like all other Hindu devotees, I also love the Pongala festival of Chakkulathukavu temple and the delicious Pongala payasam. Pongala festival of this year was on 12th December. Pongala is a ritual performed by women devotees of Hindu religion. My mother performs it every year and this year my 8 year daughter also accompanied her. Both came back home by noon and happily distributed the Pongala payasam, a sweet dish prepared using rice and jaggery to neighbors. Amma feels upset and complain throughout the year if she misses the chance to perform Pongala. Devotees like my mother believe that all their grief, problems and confusions will be washed away by offering Pongala to the Goddess of the Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathy temple.

Like all other Hindu devotees, I also love the Pongala festival of Chakkulathukavu temple and the delicious Pongala payasam. Pongala festival of this year was on 12th December. Pongala is a ritual performed by women devotees of Hindu religion. My mother performs it every year and this year my 8 year daughter also accompanied her. Both came back home by noon and happily distributed the Pongala payasam, a sweet dish prepared using rice and jaggery to neighbors. Amma feels upset and complain throughout the year if she misses the chance to perform Pongala. Devotees like my mother believe that all their grief, problems and confusions will be washed away by offering Pongala to the Goddess of the Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathy temple.

I love the temples in South India because most of them are architectural marvels. It is amazing to watch the temple sculptures and mural arts. The temples of Kerala can be visual treats especially for North Indian and foreign travelers because of its stunning architecture. I regularly visit Chakkulathukavu temple not because of its architectural grandeur but to share my grief and tensions to Devi Durga. Like all other Hindu devotees, I also depend on her whenever I face any tension or health problems. Thousands of people visit the temple on the first Friday of every Malayalam month to get relief from their health issues. It may be highly interesting for people from across the globe to know more about the festivals and specialties of this temple.



Pongala - A unique festival


A lot of women devotees from across the state reach the region in order to perform this unique ritual. Even women from the neighboring states like Tamil Nadu also come to the temple or nearby region to offer Pongala to the Bhagavathy. I used the word ‘region’ because it may be difficult for people to enter the temple during the ‘Thrikarthika’ day (Pongala day) because of overcrowd. Only a few thousands can do the rituals at the temple premises on that day. For people who cannot get space at the temple premises will line up beside the roads that lead to the temple to perform Pongala. The queue may sometimes extend to 40 to 50 kilometers. Women devotees from faraway places gather around the temple premises even one week before the Pongala in order to get space to perform this function.

Brief idea about the Pongala ritual
Since I am staying only a few kilometers away from this temple, I have good knowledge about Pongala festival. So let me explain about the ritual in brief. This festival takes place every year on the Thrikarthika Nakshathram in the Malayalam month of ‘Vrishchikam’ (November/December). The chief priest Radhakrishnan Namboodiri lights the lamp at 9 am on this day in order to commence the Pongala ceremony. After the inaugural rite and prayers, he brings a divine fire from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple at 9.50 am to light the main hearth. After this ritual, the fire exchanged from one oven of Pongala to another. Women line up on the sides of all roads in the region in an area of around 50 kilometers and fire exchanged to light up their oven.

We believe that the glory of the Goddess Durga is at its peak during the Thrikarthika day in the month of Vrischikam. My mother bought a round earthen pot for the Pongala and carried rice, jaggery, coconut, raisins and cashew nuts to prepare a delicious Pongala payasam. She also carried a few logs to cook the rice to the venue. Amma and a few relatives could find spaces near Thiruvalla private bus stand during this festival and successfully completed all the rituals.

The importance of the first Friday

I cannot complete this article without mentioning about the advantages of visiting the temple on the first Friday of every Malayalam month. Devotees visit the temple on this day in order to attend the special spiritual ceremonies. A small idol of the Goddess Durga carried in procession on this day to a specially arranged area for prayer. The songs and hymns of Chakkulathamma give a special effect to the atmosphere. I love the unique glow of divinity and spirituality of the temple on the first Friday. The temple distributes unique medicine water which has the capability to cure different ailments. A lot of people who suffer from various health issues visit the temple as they believe that Devi Durga works for them surprisingly when medicines fail.