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Pongal in Tamil Nadu | Our Pongal Walk Near a Thanjavur Village!

Pongal, the harvest festival, is the biggest festival in Tamil Nadu. Pongal in Tamil Nadu is celebrated over four days. It is not only known for the festivities but is also as a thanksgiving to god for good harvest, health and prosperity.

When we were looking for a place to go, we got the suggestion from Subha, Brinda’s colleague and friend to go to Thanjavur, the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu and cultural capital. We jumped at this suggestion from her. Incidentally,  she is from Thanjavur who helped us fine-tune our visit.

Our idea was not to just visit the village but to have an immersive experience and participate in the festivities. Krishna Kumar and his son Sreenivasn – the uncle and nephew of Subha – arranged for us to visit the village of Soorakottai which is around 10 km from Thanjavur. Krishna Kumar, who is a media executive, contacted his friend Muthu Kumar who was organising a Pongal Walk in the village.

We left our hotel around 7.30 Am and reached the outskirts of the village at 8 AM. Soorakottai is a small village with 300 houses. At one end of the village is a temple dedicated to Ayanar and in the other end is the school. Surroudned by paddy fields, the village looks beautiful.

Let us take you through the ” Pongal Walk and our experience of Pongal in Tamil Nadu”

We walk on the small road leading from the highway into the village. Coconut trees line the road with paddy fields on either side.

A small road splits the village into two with houses on either side. Our “Pongal Walk” starts from the first house. The tradition in villages is to cook Pongal outside the house. A small shrine is made of Lord Ganesh in cow dung and deeepam is lit in front of the shrine. Sugarcane plants are cut and placed nearby as an offering. Two hearths are made either in mud bricks or cast iron and used to cook sweet pongal and salty pongal.

A young boy trying to videograph even as his dad set up the shrine and other paraphernalia!

The main street in the village. The frontage of All houses is decorated with ” Kolams” or ” Rangoli” as it is called outside Tamil Nadu. These are floral designs written in chalk and filled with colours.

Pongal in Tamil Nadu
Pongal in Tamil Nadu
Pongal in Tamil Nadu

A lady offering to god. The two vessels kept are for cooking sweet and salty Pongal.

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

The colourful Kolam depicts two types of Pongal prepared during the festival.

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

As we moved around, we could see the small shrines with holy lamps.

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

In the middle of the village, we could spot this larger shrine. We were told that this was for Amman, the village deity, and protector of the village.

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

As mentioned earlier, these are the three types of hearths used to cook Pongal

The Pongal which is cooked in these vessels has to spill over signifying prosperity and growth. When the Pongal spills over the vessel, everyone around will shout ” Pongalo Pongal”

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

We had taken sweets from Bangalore – Dharwad Peda and Yellu Bella ( a delicacy made of jaggery, fried ground nuts, copra. fried Bengal gram and fried sesame seeds) which we distributed among the village folk.

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

As we complete our Pongal walk, we stop at the first house for a keepsake picture!

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

It was a morning well spent, among welcoming, simple and happy villagers of Soorakottaivillage for an immersive Pongal experience. Pongal in Tamil Nadu has to be experienced in these villages.

Plan a trip next year.

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