Chakkulath Bhagavathy Temple ‘The Sabarimala of women’ is located at Ambalapuzha, Neerattupuram in Alappuzha District of Kerala after Thakazhi and Edathuva. (17 km East of Ambalapuzha and 9 km west of Thiruvalla). Chakkulathamma the benefactress cosmic mother, the conduit power of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, the creator, preserver and destroyer dwells here. This Bhagavathy temple is famous for its Pongala Mahotsav. Pongala is a devout offering made of pudding by devotees as a reverent exposure of their awesome offering of love and respect.
The myth about Chakkulathamma makes an interesting reading as it was she who transformed a foolish shepherd into the saint poet Kalidas overnight. The revered Brahmasree Radhakrishnan Thirumeni, the best among the blessed of Chakkulathamma provide a remedy to all who approach him for various worldly solutions. P.B.K. Namboodiri, one of the best astrologer, Unnikrishnan Namboodiri and Ashokan Namboodiri worship the goddess during the daily temple rituals under the efficient and capable guidance of the administrator Brahmasree Manikuttan Namboodiri who is also famous in writing divine songs. Sri. Damodharan Namboodiri, the father of the blessed five leads his sons in religious texts and rituals and is their beacon light.
Pongala is the phenomenally renowned festival that takes place in the temple during the month of ‘Vrischikam’ (November/December). This is the time when the glory of the Goddess is at its peak. Lakhs of women devotees gather around the temple as early as even one week before the function. The temple premises will be overcrowded and the devotees arrange places for offering the pongala on both sides of the main streets. The queue usually extends to a surprising length of 20 km. Rice, coconut and jaggery are brought by women devotees along with round earthen pots for cooking. The Chief Priest lights the main hearth from the divine fire inside the sanctum sanctorum. This fire is exchanged from one oven to another.
Every year at the time of lighting the main hearth an eagle is found to circle far above the sky. This is an unfailing blessing of the Goddess. The sight of the bird drives the devotees into an inexplicable feeling of ecstasy. They utter the divine names of the mother and the atmosphere echoes and reverberates with a thousand names of the Goddess. Pandrandu Noyampu is the type of fasting and prayer which qualifies the devotee for eternal blessings of Chakkulathamma. This fasting starts every year from the first day of the Malayalam month of Dhanu till the twelfth. Men and women irrespective of age, caste or creed can resort to this powerful fasting. They have a streamlined life with a bath in the early morning and chanting of Devi mantras as far as possible. They adhere to strict vegetarianism and totally shun cigarettes or liquors. Brahmacharya or a condition of celibacy is observed during this period.