You can imagine the amount of eagerness and excitement for a festival that occurs once in 12 years! Mahamaham is one such festival that happens every 12 years because people believe that the water of Mahamaham Tank is met by the holy waters of 9 sacred rivers such as Ganga, Yamuna and more after a regular interval of 12 years. The city of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu welcomes a huge gathering of Hindu devotees and tourists every time during this festival. People take a dip in the holy water of the tank with a belief of washing off their sins and becoming pure again.
The festival is quite auspicious, and people come down to the place from all over the world just to take a dip in the sacred water. This festival takes place when the moon is adjacent to the constellation which is known as Maham. This 10-day event usually happens in the Tamil month ‘Masi’ which is February or March. Make sure to be a part of the festival next time as it will really fill your soul with positivity and purity.
The legends have it that once all the sacred rivers of India such as Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Mahanadi, Sarayu, Narmada, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri reached out to Lord Brahma with a request to purify their water which has become dirty because people have washed their sins in them. On hearing the plea of these rivers, Lord Brahma asked them to combine and take a bath in Mahamaham tank to become pure again.
Mahamaham Festival commemorates this significant mythological event. The Mahamaham square tank is surrounded by Shiva mandapams and is believed to be spread in an area of 20 acres. People perform puja at these mandapams as well because each of them has a shiva linga in the sanctum.
Flag Hoisting Ceremony. A special flag hoisting is carried out amidst celebrations. The festival begins after the flag is hoisted at Vaishnavi and many other significant shrines of the city.
Sacred Bath. Lakhs of devotees from the city and all around the country arrive here to take a dip in the holy water of Mahamaham.
Last and Upcoming Mahamaham Festival. The last Mahamaham festival was held in 2016 on February 22. The date and time are fixed as per the astronomical positions of stars and planets. The next festival will be held in 2028, there is no confirmation about the month and date because the exact date will be revealed just a couple of years before the festival by the pandits.
By Air. The nearest airport from Kumbakonam is in Trichy which is known as Tiruchirappalli International Airport. The airport is around 100 km away from the city. There are regular flights from all parts of the country to the airport hence one may consider traveling by air if budget is not a constraint. From the airport, one is required to hire a taxi or get on a bus to reach the desired destination.
By Rail. The nearest railway station to the city is Kumbakonam. After deboarding the train one can hire a taxi or get on a local bus to reach the desired destination in the city. Trains from all the metropolitan cities of India arrive here hence one may consider traveling by train if looking for a comfortable and budget-friendly travel option.
By Road. People can easily reach the city by inter-state or intra-state tourist buses. One may also drive to the city if a long road trip has been in the back of mind. Tourists arriving from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru are required to cover nearly 2,500, 1,300, 1,900, and 400km respectively.
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