Melbourne celebrates Kerala temple festival

February 22nd, 2008 - 5:09 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 22 (IANS) An annual festival associated with a Kerala temple was Friday replicated in Melbourne at the same time that the event was taking place here. The World Malayali Council (WMC) and the Amritananada Mayi mutt performed the pongala feast of the Attukal Bhagavathi temple in Melbourne.

“We were fortunate to hold the pongala festival in the premises of the mutt because it is not allowed on the streets as it takes place in Thiruvananthapuram,” Thiruvallam Bhasi, vice president of WMC, told IANS over phone.

“We took permission from the Australian authorities and held the festival in the same manner as it is held at Attukal. Close to a hundred ladies took part, including Australian nationals, by cooking the pongala feast,” said Bhasi, who is settled in Australia.

On Friday, nearly three million women lined up on the streets leading to the famous Attukal Bhagavathi temple here to cook rice. The event takes place on the penultimate day of the 10-day-long festival.

Attukal Bhagavathi is believed to be an incarnation of Kannaki and is referred to in the Tamil epic “Silappathikaaram”.

According to legend, Kannaki destroyed Madurai in Tamil Nadu after the king of Madurai wrongfully imposed the death penalty on her husband. After that, Kannaki travelled to Kerala, where she rested for a while at Attukal and women are said to have cooked pongala for her.

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