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Mahamaham 2016 - Kumbh Mela of the south



Mahamaham is a Hindu festival celebrated every 12 years in the Mahamaham tank located in the South Indian town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, India. Hindus consider taking a holy dip at the Mahamaham tank on the day of Mahamaham as sacred. The last Mahamaham was celebrated on February 22, 2016 with more than 10 lakh people from various places taking the holy dip in the Mahamaham tank.


The legend:

As per legend, after the end of each era, the whole world immerses in a deluge on account of the wrath of Hindu god Shiva for the sins committed by humans in earth. Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, recreated the world during the start of current Kali Yuga. Shiva declared that after the end of previous era, a divine pot would reach a holy spot. As the divine pot reached Kumbakonam, Shiva, in the form of a hunter, broke the pot with an arrow. The pot broke into many parts and scattered around, which became the cause for so many temples in the town - Kumbeswara, Someswara, Kasi Viswanatha, Nageswara, Kamata Viswanatha, Abimukeshwara, Goutameswara, Banapuriswara, Varahar, Lakshminaryana, Sarangapani, Chakrapani and Varadharaja


Astronomical & Scientific Significance:


Mahamaham occurs once in twelve years when when the planet Jupiter's residence in Leo co-incides with full-moon in Leo. This is also considered a powerful astrological combination since Jupiter and Moon will be on the same constellation with Sun on the other side, which is considered very auspicious and highly beneficial. On the day of the festival, it is believed to bring all water bodies together and enrich the tank with minerals.



The Tank:


The Tank where the devotees take holy dip is located in the heart of Kumbakonam town in Thanjavur district.

It covers an area of 6.2 acres and is trapezoidal in shape. The tank is surrounded by 16 small Mandapams (shrines) and has 21 wells inside the tank. The names of the wells carry the name of Lord Shiva or that of Rivers of India. Govinda Dikshitar, the chieftain of Ragunatha Nayak of Thanjavur, constructed the sixteen Mandapams and stone steps around this tank.


A first: Naga Sadhus took part in Mahamaham 

For the first time a group of Naga Sadhus from the Himalayas and Varanasi have arrived at Kumbakonam & took part in the Mahamaham festival

Clad in loin cloths, the sadhus have built tents on the banks of Veerachozhan River at Govindhapuram near Kumbakonam and performed homams.

“Naga Sadhus make public appearance only rarely. They usually participate in the Kumbh Mela at Allahabad. This is the first time they have come down to participate in Mahamaham. They also took part in the three-day All-India Seers Conference which concluded at Kumbakonam” said Sathyanarayanan, spokesperson of the Seers conference.


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