PICTURES: Hundreds attend Hindu harvest festival in East Ham temple

18:32 12 March 2014

Hindus with the model of a goddess for Pongala

Hindus with the model of a goddess for Pongala


Hundreds gathered in a Hindu temple in East Ham for a yearly harvest festival that was attended by Stephen Timms MP and Cllr Sharma Ahmad, a former mayor of Newham.

Stephen Timms MP at Pongala 2014Stephen Timms MP at Pongala 2014

The Attukal Pongala 2014 festival was celebrated by around 600 people at London Sri Murugan temple in Church Road, Manor Park, on February 16 with religious rituals and a feast.

More than 150 women wore traditional dress for the seventh annual festival held in Newham.

The London festival was organised by Cllr Omana Gangadharan as part of the British Asian Women’s Network, which works to empower women in the UK.

Cllr Gangadharan said: “It’s a celebration of harvest, thanking nature.

“This is the seventh time we have done it in Newham. Over the years this is going to attract people form all over the UK to the borough.

“We had people from Cambridge, Birmingham, the Midlands and all over London.”

The festival’s name comes from the word Pongala, meaning “to boil over”, as when cooking a ritual offering of porridge for the festival, and Attukal, after the large Attukal Bhagavathy temple in the Indian state of Kerala.

The festival draws more than 2.5million women on a single day at the Attukal temple and has been entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest congregation of women in the world.

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