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Timings : 4:30 AM - 12:30 PM & 6:45 PM - 8:30 PM

Attukal Temple, Trivandrum Overview

The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Trivandrum is one of the most talked about temples of not just the south, but the entire country. Among the many reasons for its popularity, probably the most eye-catching one is that it received a Guinness World Book record when over 37 lakh women offered pongala at this temple at once, making it the destination of the largest gathering of women for a religious activity! Popularly known as the 'Sabarimala of Women', this temple draws a massive throng of women each year during the famous Attukal Pongala festival. Rich in cultural heritage and adorned by impeccable Tamil architecture, this temple holds an extremely critical place in the hearts of the natives and the devotees of Goddess Bhagavathy, the principal deity of this temple.

Visiting the grand temple and praying to Attukal Devi has been attested by many as a life-changing experience. They say that the goddess blesses her devotees with progeny, heath, wealth and in all, a bountiful life. The temple's Attukal Pongala Festival is a huge hit in the south, and its celebration is eagerly awaited by the locals. Tourists and devotees from far and wide come to Trivandrumespeciallyy during the festival period to witness its joyous and colourful celebration.

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Attukal Pongala Festival

The celebration of the Pongala Festival is an occasion of fun and merry. We already know that the Pongala Festival has led to the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple receiving a Guinness World Book record for the largest number of women gathering at a location to for religious purposes, but what we don’t know is why they celebrate this jubilant fest.

Goddess Kannagi was married to a Kovalam, the son of a very wealthy merchant. After marriage, Kovalam fell in love with a dancer named Madhavi, and he decided to spend all his riches to please her. This went on for long until came a day when he was flat broke. When Madhavi came to know that Kovalam was penniless, she immediately left him, and Kovalam was left all alone. He went back to Goddess Kannagi and begged her to accept him. Goddess Kannagi was not only generous and forgiving enough to accept Kovalam, but she also gave him the only precious item she had left- a pair of gold anklets. Kovalam decided to sell one of these anklets and approached the King of Madurai. It so happened that the queen of Madurai had recently lost an anklet exactly as the one Kovalam came in with. Accusing Kovalam to be the thief and appalled by his nerve to show up at the palace, the king ordered Kovalam to be beheaded.

On hearing this shocking news, Kannagi rushed to the king of Madurai with the second anklet she had left of the pair. She broke the anklet open in front of the king and showed him that the anklet contained rubies and not pearls like the queens did. Infuriated by the king's impulsive decision, Goddess Kannagi cursed the entire kingdom. Goddess Kannagi's purity made this curse came true, and Madurai eventually burned down.

Pongalam, a delicious dish made of boiled rice is offered to Goddess Kannagi at the temple to celebrate her victory over the king. Thousands of women flock here during this 10-day celebration to the point where the temple can no longer hold the crowd, and the people start spilling over onto roads, bus stops and even courtyards of nearby residences!

Legend of Attukal Temple

The story behind the history of this temple is quite an interesting one. The story revolves around an ardent devotee of Goddess Bhagavathy, Kannagi. Once, Kannagi was on her way to Kodungallur and Attukal fell in her route. When she reached Attukal, she found the Killi river blocking her way. As Kannagi was trying to figure out how to cross the river, she found an old man performing religious rituals at the banks of the river. This man was none other than the head of the Mulluveetil family, an influential family of the city. Kannagi knew that he could help her and so, she transformed into a little girl and asked the old man to help her cross the river.

The Karanavar (head of the family) was taken aback by the charisma, charm and glow of the little girl. He at once knew that this was no ordinary child. He willingly took the girl to the other side and requested her to grace his humble abode. The entire family started preparing to give Kannagi a grand welcome. However, the little girl disappeared before they could receive her and left everyone disappointed and perplexed.

That night, Kannagi arrived in the Karanavar's dream and asked him to build her an abode in the close by grove, or as they called it, Kavu. She informed him that when he visits that location, he will find three gold lines in the spot she wants her abode built in; and to the Karanavar's surprise, he found the gold lines exactly where she had pointed! The Karanavar did not waste any time in starting this holy project and within no time, had erected what is now the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.

Best Time To Visit Attukal Temple

If you want to witness the pompous celebration of Pongalam and feel its electric vibe, it is best to visit the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple between February and March. If not, the winters are definitely the best season to visit the temple. The weather from November to February is quite pleasant and cool. Summers here are quite hot and humid and hence, draw lesser crowds. From March to May, you will find the temple and the city quite to yourself. Monsoons start with June and end with September. The rains may pose a bother when you want to explore the area, but they will turn the entire city into a lush green landscape of unparalleled beauty.

How To Reach Attukal Temple

The Trivandrum Central Railway Station is only 2 kms away from Attukal Temple, which is approximately 10 mins by road. You can hail a cab or an auto rickshaw from here that will take you directly to temple in about 10 mins and at very economical costs. 

The Eastfort Bus Station is also very close to the temple at a mere distance of 1.5 kms with a frequent traffic of buses plying in and out. The Thampanoor Bus Terminal is also quite close to the temple, only about 2 kms out and sees a very good frequency of buses stopping over.

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