THANJAVUR: Around 36 lakh people are expected to participate in the once in 12 years Mahamaham festival that commences on Saturday at the temple town of Kumbakonam.
This was disclosed by Dr. N Subbaiyan, District collector, Thanjavur.
Talking to media persons in Thanjavur on Wednesday after releasing the Special" Mahamaham 2016 Malar"published by the medieval Sarasvati Mahal Library he said administration has made all the preparations for receiving the large number of people for the ten days festival that commences with the ceremonial flag hoisting on February 13 and culminates with the Theerthavari on February 22. They would be allowed to take a holy dip in the tank from February 13 onwards.
The devotees would reach the eastern bank of the Mahamaham tank from four roads which converge into two before the devotees will be allowed to get down into the tank in the eastern bank. They would be allowed to walk through the tank in six bays separated by rope, he said. When they enter the tank the sprinklers will spray the tank water on them.
After crossing the tank the devotees have to come out of the tank on the Western bank. From there those who wish to visit Kasi Viswanathar temple and Potramarai kulam could take the right side path and those want to go to the railway station could take left side path, the collector added.
Even though the buses and other vehicles would be stopped on the periphery of the town, mini buses would be operated in two sectors for senior citizens which would take them upto 800-900 meters distance from the Mahamaham tank.
On the quality of water let into the tank, Subbaiyan said fresh water would be let into the tank at the rate of 75 liter per minute throughout the festival from the February 12th onwards. At the same time the water would be sucked at the same rate at the other end of the tank. The chlorine content would be continuously measured by the Public Health department officials posted inside the tank. "Besides this samples would be taken in frequent intervals to test in the laboratories of the educational institutions in the town", he added.
For the benefit of devotees 147 temporary toilets with water facility have been set up in the core area of the temple town. Besides this drinking water facility have also been made throughout the town. So far six organisations were given permission to offer free food to the devotees at designated places. Moreover another 15 organisations have applied for offering Annadhanam. As many as 137 medical teams have also been formed with doctors and nurses at various locations in and around Kumbakonam. They would also have medicines. For those who require emergency treatment including cardiac ailments, as many as 20 special medical camps have been arranged. In these camps specialists from Thanjavur Medical college hospital, Tiruvarur Medical college hospital, Tiruchy Medical college hospital and Apollo Hospitals would be available for treating the patients. These special camps are organised at Kumbakonam Government hospital and various private hospitals with which the administration had tied up.
As many as 1,000 fire and rescue personnel would be deployed around the tank to respond to crisis situation if any. Ambulances and fire tenders would be kept ready at 23 locations in Kumbakonam and two roads have been earmarked for ambulances in the town where there would be no hindrances.
For the safety and security of the devotees as many as 26,000 police personnel would be pressed into duty and with the 350 surveillance cameras the entire town would be constantly monitored for crowd movement. To ensure sanitation 2,000 workers and volunteers will be deployed to clear the garbage regularly. To ensure a clean Mahamaham, the devotees on their arrival would be given a cloth bag for keeping all the things including their foot wear. For this 16 lakh bags have already been kept ready.
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