THOOTHUKUDI: The Maha Pushkaram festival is all set to be celebrated along river Thamirabarani after 144 years for 12 days from October 12 in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts. Thamirabarani river is otherwise called as ‘Porunai’.
As many as 18 places in Tirunelveli and six places in Thoothukudi district has been identified as safe for devotees to offer worship during the festival. The state government would make elaborate arrangements for the fest.
Thamirabarani, referred to as ‘Porunai’ in Sangam literature, flows for 81 kilometres from the Podhigai hills and drains into Gulf of Mannar. The sea is believed to have receded by 6 km over several centuries.
The Pushkaram festival takes place on 12 major holy rivers, corresponding to the Hindu zodiac signs, during the transit of Guru Bhagavan from one Rasi to another, every year.
The Pushkaram festival that occurs in October 2018 is called a ‘Maha Pushkaram’, as all the zodiac signs are aligned, a once-in-144-years occurrence. Accordingly, Guru Bhagavan moves from Tula to Vrishchika Rasi during October 12 and dwell in the same Rasi for 12 days until October 23. During the same period, the Pushkaram is celebrated along the banks of the Bhima in Telangana, which has the same zodiac sign.
It is believed a saint obtained a blessing following a deep penance, which transformed him into a Pushkaram that will cleanse each of the holy rivers as Guru Bhagvan transits from one to zodiac signs to another.
Hindus believe that sage Agathiyar released the Thamirabarani from the Podhigai hills where he went to have a glimpse of the wedding of Sivaperuman and Parvathiammal. Thamirabarani took avatar from the Podhigai hills on the auspicious day in Vaikasi Vishagam, when Murugaperuman took avatar.
Sivaperuman revealed himself to the sage from Kailash hills in his wedding attire on the hills which later became the “Kalyana Theertham”, they say.
According to Sakthasri Sathguru Seenivasa Sithar, the river Thamirabarani is a holy river of South India and has been mentioned in Mahabaratam. It is an embodiment of historic glory, spiritual and Idhigasa ecstasy. The river drains into the Gulf of Mannar in Thoothukudi, which is famous for pearl fishery. Saying it is a spiritual corridor, the Sithar stated that the banks of Thamirabarani have the Southern Navathirupathi temples and Nava Kailaya temples.
However, a major section of scholars, writers, folklorists, and locals had decried the commencement of Pushkaram festival on the river on the grounds that there is no written mention of Pushkaram festival being celebrated along the Thamirabarani in any of the known historical materials.