In 1997, 1.5 million women came. In 2009, 2.5 million came, and a Guinness record was awarded for the world’s largest gathering of women. This year, the Attukal Bhagavathy Trust anticipates 4 million. According to Dianne Jenett, a teacher and researcher in Palo Alto, California, who came to study the phenomenon in 1995 and has been back almost every year since as a participant, Attukal Pongala is a tradition that spontaneously arose during an era when lower-caste citizens were not permitted to worship in or near temples. In rural areas, these “untouchable” or “unseeable” women, as they were called in Kerala, would perform ritual prayer—often culminating with pongala—in kavus, sacred places dedicated to local protector goddesses. Eventually, lower castes began to offer pongala for the higher castes, but today Keralan women of all social and economic backgrounds make the same offering to Amma in the same dusty streets, side by side.