Two days ago I was on a bus travelling through Tamil Nadu from Pondicherry to Bangalore. I passed villages where the preparations for Pongal were visible. Markets were bustling and crowded, sugar cane was for sale everywhere, as well as colourful ropes and bells. I assume the bells (and maybe the ropes too but I’m not sure) are for the cattle who are revered on the third day of Pongal, to thank them for their help with the harvest.
Watching the scenes going by, I remembered that I had been on a bus at this time of year nine years ago, on my way from Villupuram to Tiruvannamalai. It was early morning and from the bus I had seen people drawing huge, elaborate rangoli designs in front of their houses, with drawings of sugar cane stalks and overflowing pots, symbolising abundance and the words Happy Pongal! written in Tamil and English. In Tamil Nadu this must be one of the most important festivals because it last three days, while in Karnataka it seems to be more low-key.
In Karnataka and other parts of India this harvest festival is called Sankranti. This morning I took a walk through my neighbourhood and here's what I saw:
I had posted pictures of Sankranti rangoli I had taken a previous year here.