It is a popular women's festival celebrated in Attukal Bhagavati temple,
one of the ancient temples dedicated to goddess about 2km from Thiruvananthapuram.
This 10 day long Pongala Utsavam commences from the Bharani day (Karthika
star) of the Malayalam month of Makaram-Kumbham (February-March).
Pongala is a form of sweet porridge, which is considered to be the goddess's
favourite offering. It is prepared by cooking jaggery, coconut kernal,
and plantain in a specific proportion. The ritual starts early morning
and by noon the offering is ready. Men are not allowed in the vicinity
of the temple during the pongala. The main priest holding the goddess
sword, moves around the temple courtyard and blesses devotees by sprinkling
holy water and showering flowers.