Ranked 21 among Places to Visit in Shimoga
Time Required: January
Pongal is essentially a winter harvest festival which corresponds to the festival of Makar Sankranti or Lohri that is celebrated around the same time in India's Northern States. It is one of the most important festivals for the people in Tamil Nadu. The festivities are usually spread over 4 days in January. The 4 days of the festival are called Bhogi (Day 1), Thai Pongal (Day 2), Maatu Pongal (Day 3), and Kaanum Pongal (Day 4).
On Day 1, people clean out their houses, discard old belongings in a ritual quite similar to that of Holika in North India. Houses are painted and decorated and new possessions are celebrated. Day 2 is marked by preparation of sweets and savouries out of rice and milk to celebrate prosperity. Day 3 is focused on cattle as they are bathed and their horns painted. Women folk also pray for the longevity and well-being of their brothers in a tradition called Kanu Pidi. Day 4 is the day of visits to one's family members and relatives as a lot of reunions are held.
If you are travelling to the city in mid-January, you will be quite lucky to participate in one of the most awaited festivals not only in Shimoga but also in the whole state. Pongal is celebrated to honour The Sun God or Surya devata. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and vigour. A special dish is prepared with rice, cardamom, jaggery and cashew nuts and is consumed on the festival day.
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