Claire is writing a post about it, but in the meantime here is a short, shaky clip from the Attukal Pongala Festival. (That post is now up – it’s called Attukal Pongala: Bubbling Over.) Held annually in Trivandrum, the festival is attended by millions of women – 2.5 million in 2009, according to the Guinness Book of World Records – who travel to the southern city to cook sweet rice dishes in earthen pots as offerings to the goddess, Attukal Devi. Years ago, there was enough space for cooking fires outside the Attukal Devi Temple, but its growing popularity has spread the festival all over the city, where fires burn in every space imaginable.
It was tricky to photograph and move through Trivandrum’s narrow streets. Smoke from the fires, just lit, was irritating my eyes – as well as the women’s – and when I took this video there were more fires and pots inches behind me, which I had to be careful not to step on. The music was not added later; it was blaring from stacks of speakers placed on every street corner, playing Bollywood hits right after devotional songs or the words of an officiating Brahmin.
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