The Tamirabharani “maha pushkaram” (festival of worshipping of rivers), held after 144 years based on unique planetary positions as per the almanac, got off to a start in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts on Thursday, 11 October 2018. Tamirabharani Mahapushkaram continues till October 23.
The 12-day festival, inaugurated by Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit at Papanasam near here, is expected to draw lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country.
As many as 18 places in Tirunelveli and six places in Thoothukudi district has been identified as safe for devotees to offer worship during the festival. The state government would make elaborate arrangements for the fest.
Thamirabarani, referred to as ‘Porunai’ in Sangam literature, flows for 81 kilometres from the Podhigai hills and drains into Gulf of Mannar. The sea is believed to have receded by 6 km over several centuries.
The Pushkaram festival takes place on 12 major holy rivers, corresponding to the Hindu zodiac signs, during the transit of Guru Bhagavan from one Rasi to another, every year.
Elaborate arrangements had been made to enable the people to take the holy dip in the river which runs through the districts of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin. More than 60 bathing ghats had been spruced up while special ‘homams’ and ‘pujas’ would also be performed during the 12 days. Though pushkaram was celebrated every 12 years, the maha pushkaram at Tamirabharani occurs after a gap of 144 years based on a unique combination of planetary positions, signifying the transit of Jupiter to the next zodiac sign, organisers said.
Holy rivers such as the Yamuna, Ganga, Brahmaputra, Godavari, Krishna Cauvery and Tamirabharani were known throughout the country and people take baths in them on auspicious occasions.
Hindus believe that sage Agathiyar released the Thamirabarani from the Podhigai hills where he went to have a glimpse of the wedding of Sivaperuman and Parvathiammal. Thamirabarani took avatar from the Podhigai hills on the auspicious day in Vaikasi Vishagam, when Murugaperuman took avatar.
Taking a dip in the sacred rivers like Tamirabharani was part of the 5000-year-old Indianculture which could not be destroyed despite invasion by Muslim kings and British model of education introduced by Lord Macaulay, he said. The governor said it was necessary to get the blessings of saints and ascetics and pushkaram was celebrated also for respecting the rivers.