MAHAMAHAM FESTIVAL AT KUMBAKONAM

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Location : Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Celebrated: Once In Twelve Years
Falls On: February-March
Next Mahamaham Festival: In The Year 2004

The Mahamaham festival is celebrated in the honour of Lord Adi Kumbeswara at the Mahamaham tank, which is situated to the southeast of the Adi Kumbeswara shrine, the principal ancient Lord Shiva shrine at Kumbakonam. This festival attracts lakhs of people from far and wide and takes place once in 12 years.

The Mahamaham Tank
The center of the Mahamaham festival is the Mahamaham Tank, a holy pool of nectar that flowed out of Lord Brahma's Kumbha after it was broken by Lord Shiva's arrow shot. The Mahamaham tank, trapezoidal, (looking rectangular) in shape covers roughly an area of about five acres and a half with a full capacity depth of ten feet.

Previous Occurrences Of The Festival
The Mahamaham festival celebrated on the conjunction of the moon with the 'Maha nakshatra' and Jupiter crosses one 'Rashi' or sign in about one year. It comes to 'Simha (Singh or Lion) Rashi' or Leo every 13th year and it is considered especially sacred. Generally all these astronomical combinations take place on a full moon day of the Tamil month of 'Masi' (Solar Kumbha Month) i.e. either in the latter half of February or in the first half of March.

It is believed that on this auspicious day the tank receives supplies of water from the Ganges and eight other holy rivers and all the deities are said to remain present here on that occasion. The festival was previously celebrated on 14/2/68, 1/3/80, and 22/2/92. The next Mahamaham festival will be held in the year 2004.

A Single Day Celebration
Mahamaham bathing festival is concentrated on a single day, the concourse of pilgrims being all the more. The festival at Haridwar , Allahabad , Nashik and those in Andhra Pradesh happen to be bathing in river while the Mahamaham is bathing in a tank, generally followed or preceded by a dip in the River Cauvery at Kumbakonam.

HOW TO GET THERE

Air: The nearest airport is at Trichy (95-km).
Rail: Kumbakonam has a railway station, which is well connected by rail with the neighbouring cities and towns of the state.
Road: Kumbakonam is just five and a half hours drive from Chennai and two and half hours drive from Trichy. It is well connected by road with the major towns and cities of the state.

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation is available at the hotels in Kumbakonam.



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