KUMBAKONAM: The once in 12 years Mahamaham festival, feted as Kumbh Mela of South commenced on Saturday with the ceremonial flag hoisting at six Shiva temples including the Aadhi Kumbeswarar temple here. Following the flag hoisting the heads of two Saivite mutts took holy dip in the Mahamaham tank as a mark of inaugurating the holy dip in the tank. The 10 days festival would go on till February 22, when the main function of Teerthavari would be held on the banks of the ancient Mahamaham tank in the temple town.
The flag hoisting ceremony was conducted at 12 noon at Aadhikumbeswarar, Nageswarar, Kasiviswanathar, Abimugeswarar, Kalahastheeswarar and Someshwarar temples.
Following this the heads of mutts Shanmuga Desiga Gnana Sambandar (Dharumapuram), Ambalavana Desigar (Tiruvavaduthurai) took a holy dip at Mahamaham tank at the northern bank there by officially inaugurated the Mahamaham festival. Ministers R Vaithilingam (Housing and Agriculture), R Kamaraj (food),
also took bath in the tank. M Veerashanmugha Moni, the Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable endowments, Dr. N Subbaiyan, District collector were also present in the inauguration of the holy dip. Earlier Jayendra Saraswathi, the head of Kanchi mutt participated in the flag hoisting ceremony at Kasiviswanathar temple and later took a holy dip in the Mahamaham tank located nearby.
View Gallery: Kumbh Mela of South
Though taking a holy dip for the Mahamaham officially commenced with the heads of mutts taking bath in the Mahamaham tank around noon, hundreds of devotees started taking holy dip in the Mahamaham tank from the early hours. Many of them went around the tank and took the holy water from all the 20 tanks inside the temple which were designated as 20 theertham including Ganga theertham, Yamuna Theertha, Cauvery theertham, Godavari theertham, Narmada theertham and splashed the holy water on themselves. The devotees would be allowed to take holy dip in Mahamaham tank from 6 am to 10 pm till February 22 when the main function of Theerthavari will be held and lakhs of devotees were expected to take holy dip.