Pongal is a time for people of Tamil Nadu to get together and offer thanks for the prosperity, peace and harmony granted by Surya the Sun God and the fertile earth for the bounteous harvest it yields. In celebration of this auspicious occasion, Discovery Channel Tamil is providing families with a reason to come together and reflect on the rich history and multi-faceted nature of their homeland. PONGAL SPECIAL on Discovery Channel Tamil is a carefully thought out tribute to a land that has witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties, the reigns of legendary rulers and stands today as a testament to its history. These special programs will explore the various aspects of the land known for its temples, cuisine, art, and the unique blend of cultural influences present here.
PONGAL SPECIAL will air every night at 8 p.m. on Discovery Channel Tamil from the 9th to the 15th of January, 2012.
Each show included in the PONGAL SPECIAL line up has been specially selected to highlight a different aspect of the Tamil perspective – be it food, history, art, or simply taking a look at the diverse lives of the people who call Tamil Nadu home. Discovery Channel Tamil's Pongal adventures will take viewers on a journey that will explore Tamil culture and food through the eyes of intrepid travellers such as Keith Floyd (FLOYD'S INDIA – CHENNAI) and Harsha Bhogle (TRAVEL INDIA). The special series will expose the underbelly of Tamil society through an exclusive look at the plight of the indigenous snake catching tribe of jungle dwellers on THE IRULAS OF TAMIL NADU, showcase one of rural India's favourite art forms on PAINTED INDIA, and reveal the mystical significance of traditional body piercings or 'kavadi' during the festival of THAIPUSAM.
Commenting on the special festive line-up, Rahul Johri, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, South Asia said "Although the harvest festival has relevance across the nation, our large and dedicated viewer base in South India especially Tamil Nadu led to our decision to celebrate Pongal with our Tamil viewers across the state. We have chosen shows that will cover the entire gamut of the wonders of Tamil Nadu, for it is the land and resources in this region that the devotees gather together to give thanks for. We at Discovery Channel Tamil are proud to have this opportunity to celebrate Thai Pongal with all our viewers."
PONGAL SPECIAL EPISODE DESCRIPTIONS
Lost Temples of India – This one hour special will give viewers a taste of the majestic and splendid temples in South India, built as a result of the vision of the charismatic emperor Rajaram over one thousand years ago. These granite houses of devotion play home to some of the most amazing sculptures, whose detail and design have baffled researchers for centuries. It is said that the kings of Southern India used enormous herds of elephants to transport the massive blocks of granite used to build these temples from quarry to building site. The makers of the documentary actually test this hypothesis to see how many elephants would be required to actually drag these blocks into place. The architectural feats of the era, including water tanks, irrigation systems and the temples, provide a fascinating historical journey into some of the world's lesser known monuments.
Floyd's India - Chennai - Energetic, animated and one of Britain's most admired chefs, Keith Floyd turns his attention to the remarkable continent of India. On this episode of his food-finding mission across the Indian sub-continent, Floyd explores the mouth watering fare that is Tamil food. Here he discovers that the curries of Tamil Nadu are a delicate balance of flavour and spice, a gastronomic adventure truly worth experiencing.
Travel India – Join Harsha Bhogle on his exploration of the Indian sub-continent as he lands in Chennai, home to the mania and magic that is South Indian cinema. Once he has explored the city and taken a closer look at the street art of Chennai, represented by hand made Bollywood and Kollywood film posters seen all over the city, he moves on to the quaint, formerly French colony of Pondicherry. Once there, he experiences the fusion of French influences in South Indian food and culture, a completely new dimension to India's diversity.
Thaipusam - Transcendence through mystical piercings - Thaipusam has been a tradition for centuries. Devotees often perform extraordinary physical feats that defy conventional norms. So what is the festival really about? Why do devotees put themselves through such great physical stresses? Experience their challenges and their struggles in their pilgrimages to Lord Murugan. This show documents the story of the Thaipusam festival through the eyes of two Hindu devotees throughout their pilgrimage. It reveals the story behind the Hindu festival through the experiences of Guna, an Indian Hindu residing in Kuala Lumpur and Dr. Carl Vadviella Belle, a Caucasian Australian Hindu.