Mahamaham is a holy tirtha situated in the heart of Kumbhakonam city in Tamilnadu. This tirtha was created when Lord Shiva broke the pot of Lord Brahma with an arrow. Another legend says that Lord Brahma instructed the rivers personified to gather at a single place and take a holy bath there, in order to get rid from the sins of the people who take holy dips in the rivers. Mahamaham festival is celebrated once in twelve years when the entrance of Jupiter coincides with the full moon in the zodiac of Leo. It is considered the most auspicious time to take a holy dip in Mahamaham tirtha. Mahamaham is celebrated on par with Kumbha Mela and is attended by crores of pilgrims from all over India. This twelfth year, the festival was celebrated on Feb 22, 2016.
Tirtha Yatra’s team attended this festival and was very impressed with the arrangements made by the Tamilnadu government in order to make this festival go smooth. Although attended by crores of pilgrims, the government did not leave a stone unturned in making this festival a great success.
Few of their noteworthy arrangements were:
- Government banned the entry of vehicles in the city right a kilometer away. This ensured the safety of pilgrims and also protected the city from the unnecessary traffic jams and noise pollution. It not only helped police, but also helped first aid volunteers, cleaners, devotees, etc. to move around freely without any tension and danger.
- The water of the tank was removed and was kept knee deep only which prevented devotees from drowning in the pushkarini.
- A queue was made right into the pushkarini in order to maintain discipline and ensure that every one gets a chance to bathe in the holy waters of twenty sacred wells. There was only one entrance and only one exit. The bathing in the pushkarini was extremely smooth.
- Volunteers were stationed at all the wells in order to help people remove water and take a holy dip. This also avoided pilgrims accidently falling into the wells.
- The whole city was guarded heavily in order to tighten the security of the pilgrims. CCTV cameras were stationed throughout the city. The police guards and NCC cadets were well trained to handle the pilgrims.
- Free health centers were stationed around the holy tirtha and first aid volunteers were on the move throughout the day.
- Cleanliness was maintained all throughout the city especially around the Mahamaham pushkarini. This was really well planned. People were on the move through the day in maintaining the cleanliness. Cleanliness within the tirtha was also noteworthy.
- Continuous bus arrangements were made for connecting Kumbhakonam from other major cities.
We applaud the Tamilnadu government for being extra cautious and vigilant for making this festival safe and clean. We also urge other governments to take this as a role model for making the arrangements for the festivals in their native states. If such arrangements are made in these festivals, more devotees would want to throng them.0