Ganga Pushkaram or Ganga River Pushkaralu comes once in every twelve years time. The 12-day Pushkaras are very auspicious for Ganga snan and other holy rituals.
In 2023, Ganga Pushkaram begins on 22 April and ends on 3 May 2023. Jupiter Transit into Aries (Guru Sankramana in Mesha Rashi) marks the beginning of Ganga Pushkaralu.
It is held at Gangotri, Gangasagar, Haridwar, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Varanasi (Kashi), and Allahabad (Sangam Prayag). Ganga Pushkaras starts when Pushkara Raju (the King of Pushkaras), Brihaspathi (Guru – Jupiter) enters into Ashwini Nakshatra Mesha Rashi. Ganga Pushkarams are the most auspicious among all Pushkarams.
In Varanasi, there are 64 snan ghats for Ganga Pushkara snan. Among all, Manikarnika Ghat is the important one.
As per the shruthi “Brahma Vishnuscha rudrascha indradya sarva devataa pitharo rusha yasstchiava thatraiva nivasanti hee”, performing yearly Pinda daan, Pitru Tharpan, and many other pithru karmas during Pushkar time is highly meritorious.
Pushkaram is a festival of rivers pertains to 12 important rivers in India which occurs once in 12 years for each river. The river for each year festival is based on the presence of Jupiter on which Zodiac sign by that time.
It is believed that Pushkarudu, also known as pushkar God who is powerful to make any river holy will travel with Jupiter, as Jupiter travels from one Zodiac sign to another Zodiac sign.
It is to note that every year, during the transition of Brihaspati from one rashi to another, pushkarams are held for a river. In 2022, Pranahitha Pushkarams were held.