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Attukal Devi Temple

Primarily considered as a temple for worship for women, Attukal Devi temple is considered to be the Sabarimala of Women. Attukal Devi or Attukal Amma or Bhagavathy temple is situated just about 2 kilometeres outside of the city of Thiruvananthapuram. The Attukal Devi Temple appears to be situated in a village like area but the surroundings are well developed and urbanised. Being close to the Shree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, most devotees assume their pilgrimage incomplete without paying a visit to the Attukal Temple, which is near to Thiruvananthapuram, along the Killi River. This temple is very famous for the annual festival called Attukal Pongal Mahotsavam, where lakhs of women offer Pongala to the deity. In 1997, the Pongala offerings were made by about 1.5 million women, which in itself is a record.


Establishment of the Attukal Devi temple has a lot of legends associated with it. Since the temple is associated with the main deity of Goddess Kanaki or Kanagi, who is said to be the incarnation of Goddess Parvathy, the wife of Shiva, there is an association with the life of Kanaki. As per legends, the goddess was the enlivened form of the main character of Kanaki from the book of Chilappatikaram, which is one of the best Tamil literary works by Ilamkovadikal. The story goes that Kanaki was married to Kovalan who was killed by the King of Madurai, and in a curse, the city was destroyed by fire by Kanaki. Then she left and took rest at Attukal, which is said to be the place where the temple is situated. During this time, she took the form of a small girl, who wanted to cross the river and was helped by a boatman. Later in the night, the boatman had a dream where an image of Goddess Bhagabathy or Parvathy asked him to start prayer her as Kanaki and since then, the rituals of Attukal Devi temple have been going on.

Getting There

Since the temple is only 2 kms from the town of Thiruvananthapuram, people can reach the site easily.

By Road

From the temple, the bus station of Thampannor in Trivandrum is only 2 kms. The city bus station of Thiruvananthapuram is only 1.5 kms. Lots of buses in Tamil Nadu as well as from other towns in the neighbouring states run through Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram.

By Flight

To reach the temple, the nearest airport is situated at Valiyathura in Thiruvananthapuram about 7 kms from the city centre.

By Train

Thampannor is the nearest railway station to the temple, which is the main city station of Thiruvananthapuram.


A visit to the Attukal Devi Temple is quite serene, infusing a sense of deep reverence for the goddess in form of a mother. Architecturally also, the designs have been executed in a sense of serenity, taking its pieces from both Kerala and Tamil style of architecture. Throughout the exterior of the temple, there are carvings of goddess and gods from mythology, especially the Dasavataram forms of Lord Vishnu. Various other goddesses are present inside the temple as other deities besides Goddess Bhagabathy or Attukal Devi. These are present inside the Gopuram, which is the main building of the temple. Inside the Gopuram, there are two idols of the goddess, one of which is highly decked with gold and ornaments of different types, which have been donated by the devotees. Carvings of gods and goddesses are also found in the doors and corridors of the temple. Many stories related to goddess Kanaki are also represented in different parts. The entrance of the temple has a huge gate which is highly decorated to create a beautiful visual.


The most important festival associated with the Attukal Devi temple is the Pongal festival, which is held for about 10 days. This festival is also very common in many of the other temples in South India. festival starts with the Month of Makaram in Malayalam calendar which is usually in February-March. The last day has offerings of sacrifice in the night known by the name of Kuruthitharapanam. It is on the ninth day of this festival that the pongalam offerings are done. Up to an area of about 5 kms, there is a congregation of people from all castes and creeds, giving an impression of a big mela. During the festival, there is another offering made, known as Vilakku kettu. This comprises of a huge structure, with images of goddess and garlands as well as shining paper, and the whole thing is carried to the temple by devotees in a small procession.

Related to pongal is another kind of ritual, which is primarily perfomed by the boys. These are known as Kuthiyottam and Thalappoli. Those below the age of 13 years, undergo a penance for 7 days, starting on the 3rd day of the pongal festival. During this period, they sleep on the floor, have restricted diet and are required to be present inside the temple, apart from the act of bowing before the goddess 1008 times. These boys are said to be symbolising the injured fighters in the troop of Goddess Mahisasura Mardhini.

Divine procession is said to be an attractive event in relation to this temple. The goddess Atthukal is carried to Manacaud where the Sastha temple is located. Colourfully decorated processions are the splendour of this ritual. The next morning, the deity is brought back to the temple and poojas are conducted. Apart from the pongal festival, which is held with lots of fervour and prayers, many other festivals also attract much attention such as Vinayak Chathurthi, Shivarathri, Ayilya pooja, Nirayam Puthariyum, etc.

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