Chakkulathukavu Pongala, also spelled Chakkulathu Kavu Pongala, is a well-known Hindu festival conducted in the Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple located at Neerattupuram in the border of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha Districts in Kerala. Chakkulathu Kavu Ponkala is celebrated during the Malayalam month of ‘Vrischikam’ or ‘Vrischika’ (November - December) on the Thrikarthika day. The word ‘Pongala’ means ‘to boil over’ and this ritual is primarily performed by women devotees. In 2016, Chakkulathukavu Pongala date is on 12 December 2016, Monday.
Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple premises and the surrounding footpaths, by lanes and shop fronts are filled with the devotees on the Chakkulathu Kavu Pongala day. The devotees bring rice, coconut and jaggery and earthen pots for cooking and the stoves are kept in lines on either side of the streets. After lighting the main hearth from the sanctum sanctorum by the chief priest, the fire is exchanged one another. Another interesting feature is that every year at the time of lighting the main hearth, a Brahminy Kite eagle flies round at the sky. Devotees believe that this is the blessing of the Goddess Chakkulathamma or Goddess Bhagavathi.
At the end, there is a ritual of burning the Karthika Stambam (pillar) which is made of dried leaves of coconut tee, banana, elanhi (a tree usually found in temple premises), old clothes and crackers.
History of Chakkulathukavu Pongala
According to legends, Chakkulathukavu Devi Temple in the forest was created by a tribal and family. As they were busy involved in the temple work, they were not able to prepare their food in time. Feeling dejected, they prayed Goddess Bhagawathi and moved out to prepare the food. To their surprise, they found their utensils full of prepared food. The family realized that the food was prepared by the Goddess and they prayed her to save them from all evils. At that moment, a voice in disguise stated that the food was prepared by the Goddess for them and that she was happy with the ardent devotion of the family.