Apprehensions over crowd management
The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Trust has decided to confine the Pongala on February 27 to the ‘pandara aduppu,’ the main hearth, at the Attukal temple, according to trust authorities.
The decision seems to have been taken in the wake of apprehensions over adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
Trust authorities say limiting the Pongala to the temple premises could not preclude overcrowding for entry, thus creating problems for crowd management. People could offer Pongala at their houses, they said.
A high-level meeting chaired by Minister for Devaswom Kadakampally Surendran last week had decided that the annual Pongala, billed the largest congregation of women, would be held within the premises of the temple in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
Rituals such as ‘Kutthiyottam,’ ‘Vilakkukettu,’ and ‘Thalapoli’ held as part of the 10-day festival commencing on February 19 have been dropped. However, it was decided to hold ‘Annadanam’ at Amba auditorium of the trust adhering to the green protocol and COVID-19 guidelines. Food was supposed to be made available in packets.
Entry inside the temple compound for offering Pongala was to be regulated through online registration, on the lines of norms implemented by the police and the Travancore Devaswom Board for worship at the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.
It was decided that rituals in connection with the temple festival would be held as per tradition while avoiding crowding in view of the peculiar situation prevailing.
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