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Attukal Pongala on March 7

Billed to be the largest congregation of women in the world, the annual Attukal Pongala will take place on March 7.

Thiruvananthapuram, January 16 (BPNS)

Billed to be the largest congregation of women in the world, the annual Attukal Pongala will take place on March 7. A surge in pilgrim footfall is expected this time as the Pongala was a modest affair in the last two years due to the Covid-19 scare. 

The Pongala marks the culmination of the 10-day annual festival at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram that has got the Guinness World Record for being the largest religious gathering of women in a single day. This year, the festival is from February 27 to March 8.

Charing a meeting that assessed the arrangements for the smooth conduct of the festival, Education Minister V Sivankutty said that the festival will be conducted by following the green protocol. He also added that awareness will be conducted among women and voluntary associations to discard the use of any kind of plastic materials.

In the wake of recent food poisoning cases, it was also decided to heighten the vigil of the Food Safety Department (FSD) during the fest time.

“Unhygienic food units will be closed. Adulteration of any kind will not be tolerated. FSD will conduct surprise checks and will collect samples from food units operating near the temple premises. This exercise will be extended to city limits also. Directions were given to various departments to complete the pending works including road maintenance, sewerage works, water connection, and electrical maintenance in a time-bound manner,” said Sivankutty.

The authorities said that to ensure the security of pilgrims arriving at the temple during the festive time, the police had arranged special surveillance plans and a 24-hour vigil had also been ensured.

“Aspects like fire safety, sanitation, medical attention, transportation, and others have been discussed. Temple employees will be provided with training on fire safety. Bio toilets and portable toilets will get installed at various places around the temple. KSRTC will also operate around 300 buses from major bus stations to the temple,” added Sivankutty.

The meeting that was attended by ministers GR Anil and Antony Raju, district collector Geromic George, temple officials, and representatives from various departments also decided to appoint sub-collector Aswathy Srinivas as the nodal officer of Attukal Pongala festival.