As the largest festival in the state of Tamil Nadu, Pongal is a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the abundant harvests of the past year. The four-day festival will be celebrated from January 15 to January 18 this year and will be marked by a variety of rituals and traditions, including the offering of milk rice to the sun god and the popular bull-taming sport of Jallikattu. The four days of the Pongal festival are called Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kanum Pongal. The word Pongal means to boil or overflow and is also the name of a traditional dish made with rice boiled in milk and combined with jaggery. If you’re planning a trip to Tamil Nadu during Pongal, you’ll have no shortage of exciting things to see and do. Here’s a list. (Also read: Makar Sankranti 2023: When to celebrate Makar Sankranti? Know the exact date and puja muhurat)
One of the best places to experience the full extent of Pongal’s festivities is Madurai where temples conduct special rituals and farmers display their harvested products as a form of thanksgiving. The city also hosts the Pongal Tourism Festival, which includes village visits, cultural programs, and the chance to witness the preparation of the Pongal dish and the Jallikattu sport. Other must-see attractions in Madurai include the famous Meenakshi Temple, the Tirupparankundram Murugan Temple, and the Koodal Azhagar Temple.
Thanjavur is another great destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the Pongal spirit. Here, you’ll find houses adorned with colourful decorations and flower garlands, and you can participate in the Pongal Tourist Festival organized by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department. This event includes village visits, traditional games, bullock cart rides, and folk dances. While you are in Thanjavur, be sure to visit the Brihadeeshwara Temple to see the celebration of Mattu Pongal, which involves offering worship to cows. Other popular tourist attractions in Thanjavur include the Thanjavur Royal Palace, the Gangaikondacholapuram Temple, and the Airavatheshwara Temple.
Salem is another city worth visiting during Pongal, particularly for its unique tradition of ‘Fox Darshan.’ During this annual event, villagers search the nearby forests for a fox, which they bring back to the village to worship before returning it to the wild. Salem is also home to a number of beautiful temples and other cultural attractions, including the Kottai Mariamman Temple, the Kariya Manickam Government Museum, and the Salem Steel Plant.
Finally, no trip to Tamil Nadu during Pongal would be complete without a visit to Coimbatore, where you can witness the traditional “Kambala” race, in which bulls are ridden through muddy fields in a test of strength and skill. Coimbatore is also home to a number of beautiful temples and other cultural attractions, including the Perur Patteeswarar Temple, the Marudamalai Temple, and the Siruvani Dam.
Whether you’re interested in witnessing traditional rituals, participating in cultural events, or exploring the many temples and other attractions of Tamil Nadu, Pongal is the perfect time to visit this beautiful and vibrant region of India. So, plan your trip now and be a part of the Pongal 2022 celebrations!