This festival takes place in Sree Bhagavathy Temple near Alleppey during the month of Vrischikam (November/December) in Kerala’s lunar-based calendar; the time when the glory of the Goddess is at its peak. This is one of the state’s most renowned festivals, where tens of thousands of female devotees gather around the temple days before the function. The women line up on both sides of the main streets and each arranges an area for offering the Pongala (cooking demo) in front of them. Each one brings an earthen cooking pot with rice, coconut and jaggery.
The Pongala is a symbolic reminder of an age-old story, where devotees brought food as a humble offering to the mother (Goddess) and before they could complete the preparations the pots were filled with cooked food. The devotees feel the presence of the Goddess near each Pongala hearth as the cooking is done. This is one of the most famous Pongalas in Kerala, where the queue of devotees can be up to 15 to 20 km long.