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Attukal Pongala in Thiruvananthapuram today: Everything you need to know



Attukal Pongala

Attukal Pongala, popularly called Women’s Sabarimala is being held today after a long gap of 2 years. The devotees performed Attukal Pongala from their homes for the past 2 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the reduction in COVID-19 cases, the Government of Kerala has decided to allow Attukal Pongala in full glory. The temple authorities started preparations three months back and devotees have started to arrive two days before the Pongala. There was a long rush of devotees to seek the blessings of Attukal Devi. Interestingly, Attutak Pongala falls one day before International Women’s Day on March 8.


On Tuesday, the Attukal Pongala will see participation from thousands of women devotees representing various backgrounds. The city is already bustling with the arrival of pilgrims, travelers, and tourists, who have come to witness the grandeur of the festival.

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival is expected to draw an enormous crowd. Officials anticipate a 40% increase in the number of attendees. Last year, the Pongala festival was observed in a subdued fashion, confined to households. However, this year, the city streets are teeming with devotees. One can already spot bricks lining the footpaths of major roads leading to the temple, in preparation for the hearths to be set up.

Attukal Pongala Timings

The Attukal Pongala offering ceremony will commence at 10:30 am, with the temple’s head priest igniting the stove using fire from the temple’s sanctum sanctorum. The sanctification of the Pongala offerings with holy water (Nnivedyam) is scheduled for 2:30 pm. The ten-day festival will conclude on March 15. Even if you are not located in Thiruvananthapuram, you can perform Pongala from your home. You just need to follow the timings.

Attukal Devi

Food Safety Measures

A total of 725 organizations have received registration to conduct ‘Annadanam’ on the day of Pongala. In order to ensure food safety during the festival, five special squads have been deployed by the food safety authorities.

An official from the Food Safety department stated that they have instructed the ‘Annadanam’ organizers to avoid storing food for extended periods and to prepare it fresh for the devotees. They have also issued a strict warning to use only water supplied by the Kerala Water Authority (KWA). The official added that they are regularly collecting samples of raw materials and water to ensure the safety of the food being served.

The Food Safety official further stated that the sale of food items without proper labels has been banned, and an advisory has been issued to the devotees to avoid consuming such food items. Food safety helplines have been set up, and the numbers are as follows: 8943346181, 8943346582, 1800 425 1125, and 8943346526. The public is encouraged to reach out to these helplines if they have any concerns regarding food safety during the festival.

Apart from ensuring food safety, the Health Department has also made extensive arrangements to provide medical aid to the devotees. An official stated that approximately 30 ambulances would be stationed at various locations across the city to offer medical assistance to the devotees. “The district medical office has arranged for ten ambulances, and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and private hospitals have agreed to provide an additional 20 ambulances on the day of Pongala,” the official added. This measure aims to ensure that medical aid is readily available to anyone who requires it during the festival.

Transportation Services

To facilitate the transportation of women devotees participating in the Pongala festival, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation will operate special services from 11 key points in the city on Tuesday. This initiative aims to provide a smooth and hassle-free commute for the devotees.

In addition, the Indian Railways has also arranged for special services to ensure convenient transportation during the festival. A special train from Nagercoil Junction-Thiruvananthapuram Central has been scheduled to depart at 3:30 am and arrive at the capital at 5:30 am. This train will halt at various stations, including Nagercoil Town, Virani Alur, Eraniel, Palliyadi, Kuzithurai, Kuzithurai West, Parassala, Dhanuvachapuram, Amaravila, Neyyatinkara, Balaramapuram, and Nemom.

Two more trains, the Ananthapuri Daily Express (16824) originating from Kollam and the Kanyakumari-Punalur daily, will also be available to augment transportation services during the festival. These trains will stop at all stations along the way.

Cleaning after Attukal Pongala

After the Attukal Pongala festival, around 2,200 sanitation workers will be deployed for the post-festival cleanup in Thiruvananthapuram. These workers will work towards ensuring that the entire city is cleaned up within a few hours following the event. This initiative aims to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of the city while also ensuring a safe and healthy environment for its residents.

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Alencier’s Remarks on Kerala State Film Award Statuette Spark Gender Row



Alencier Le Lopez

At the 53rd Kerala State Film Awards ceremony, actor Alencier Le Lopez received the Special Jury Award for his performance in the film Appan. In his acceptance speech made before Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, he made a number of controversial remarks about the award statuette, which is a stylized figure of a woman.

Alencier said that he was insulted by the statuette and that he expected an award statuette with a male figure. He also said that the female figure was “luring” him and that he was planning to head home after taking the award because the statuette was too heavy.

Alencier also criticized the prize money for the Special Jury Award, which is Rs. 25,000. He said that it was an insult to give him such a small amount of money, and that he deserved more. He also said that he was requesting Gautam Ghosh, the head of the jury, to look into the matter.

Alencier’s remarks have been met with widespread criticism. Many people have accused him of sexism and misogyny. Some have also said that his remarks were disrespectful to the women who have won the award in the past.

Speaking to media on Friday, Alencier refused to apologize for his remarks and said he had said nothing wrong. He also slammed Indira Gandhi for imposing Emergency. Alencier’s remarks are in line with a long history of sexism and misogyny in the Malayalam film industry. The Kerala State Film Awards have been criticized in the past for their lack of gender parity. Alencier’s remarks are a reminder of the need for greater awareness of gender issues in the Malayalam film industry.

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Celebrated Vietnam Colony Director Siddique Passes Away




Prominent Malayalam filmmaker and screenwriter, Siddique Ismail, has passed away at the age of 63. He was widely recognized for his contributions to cinema, with notable works including “Friends” (2001), “Engal Anna” (2004), “Sadhu Miranda” (2008), “Kaalavan” (2011), and “Bhaskar Oru Rascal” (2018). His final directorial project was the 2020 action thriller “Big Brother,” featuring acclaimed actors Mohanlal, Arbaaz Khan, Anoop Menon, and Honey Rose.

Siddique embarked on his directorial journey alongside Lal as the dynamic ‘Siddique-Lal’ duo. They introduced themselves to the industry with the timeless comedy “Ramji Rao Speaking” (1989), a venture-backed by Fazil. This marked the beginning of a string of remarkable successes in the history of Malayalam cinema, including iconic titles such as “In Harihar Nagar” (1990), “Godfather” (1991), “Vietnam Colony” (1992), “Kabooliwala” (1993), and “Hitler” (1996).

Born on August 1, 1960, in Kochi to Ismail Haji and Zainaba, Siddique Ismail attended St. Paul’s College in Kalamassery. He entered into wedlock with Sajitha on May 6, 1984, and the couple was blessed with three daughters: Sumaya, Sara, and Sukoon. Siddique commenced his professional journey as an assistant director under the guidance of Fazil. The collaborative efforts of Siddique and Lal caught Fazil’s attention during their performances with the Cochin Kalabhavan troupe. Although the Siddique-Lal partnership eventually dissolved, Siddique continued to pave his way in directing, while Lal transitioned into acting and production.

Siddique’s filmography predominantly centers around the comedy genre, and many of his Tamil works were adaptations of his own Malayalam creations. His contributions have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.

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Shah Rukh Khan Undergoes Surgery in the US



Shah Rukh Khan

Reports suggest that Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan encountered an accident while filming one of his projects in Los Angeles. It is said that during the mishap, Khan injured his nose and subsequently underwent a minor surgical procedure to address the bleeding.

According to a source quoted by ETimes, Khan was shooting in Los Angeles when he accidentally hurt his nose, resulting in bleeding. He was promptly taken to a nearby hospital for immediate medical attention. The doctors assured Khan’s team that there was no cause for concern, but a minor surgery was necessary to halt the bleeding. Following the operation, Khan was seen with a bandage on his nose. Currently, he has returned to his home in India to recover.

No official statement has been released by the actor or his team regarding the incident.

Earlier this year, Shah Rukh Khan made a remarkable comeback to the silver screen with Sidharth Anand’s film “Pathaan.” Starring Khan, Deepika Padukone, and John Abraham, the movie was released on January 25 and surpassed the impressive milestone of earning over Rs 1,000 crore at the global box office. Expressing gratitude for the film’s worldwide success, Khan thanked the audience for revitalizing the cinema industry.

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