By VIJAY S.V. BODDAPATI
Pushkaram is a Sanskrit word meaning “the one who purifies”. Pushkaram is the time during which the rivers are worshipped. In India festivals are mainly the days that hold spiritual significance like birthdays of gods, goddesses, religious seers and saints apart from some national festivals. Among them Pushkaram is considered to be very sacred as the rivers in India are equivalent to goddesses.
It is a festival in India which occurs in any particular year with respect to one of twelve important rivers in India; the river for each year's festival is based on which zodiacal sign Jupiter is in at that time. The Pushkaram for each river come once every twelve years and lasts so long as the Jupiter remains in the corresponding Zodiac sign (generally, for one year). The first twelve days of Pushkaram are known as Adi Pushkaram, and the last twelve days are called Anthya Pushkaram. It is believed that during the above period of twenty-four days, "Pushkar" the person, who is imbued with the power to make any river holy, will travel with Jupiter as Jupiter moves from one Zodiac house to another.
According to the Hindu Mythology on this auspicious date and time all gods and also Pushkara take a dip in the river of Saraswati. It is believed that all the sins will be lost by taking holy bath in the Saraswati River during this auspicious time.
The Saraswati River Pushkaram is a holy festival celebrated for once in 12 years in India. The 12 day Saraswati River pushkarams celebrations begin on May 31, 2013 (Friday) at 7:17am and ends on June 11, 2013(Tuesday). For once in 12 years, Saraswati Pushkaralu takes place when Bruhaspati (Jupiter/Gurudu) enters into Mithuna (Gemini) Rasi. This time Saraswati Pushkaram begins on Vysaka Bahula Saptami May 31, 2013(Friday).
THE ORIGIN OF RIVER SARASWATI
The origin of the ancient river Saraswati is in the Siwalik range of hills between the rivers Sutlej and the Yamuna. The Siwalik Hills belong to the lower Himalaya Group of Mountains in north-eastern India. The rivers Hakra (in Pakistan) and the Ghaggar (in India) have been identified as the lost Saraswati. The Saraswati river is mentioned in the Vedic texts namely Rig Veda and was considered as one of the holiest rivers.
There are not many records about this river as it is believed to be evaporated into the desert region in Rajasthan. At present the ancient river Saraswati is no more existence on earth. The Ghaggar-Hakra was the Saraswati relic which was accepted by many archaeologists.
The Saraswati Pushakaram 2013 is celebrated in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan States in India.
SARASWATI PUSHKARAM IN ANDHRA PRADESH
Saraswati Pushkaram is held once in 12 years at Kaleshwaram in Andhra Pradesh. It is believed that Saraswati River flows underground along with Pranahita and Godavari rivers at Kaleshwaram.
According to the Kaleshwaram temple history, Pushkaram for Saraswati River is conducted when ‘Guru’ (Jupiter) enters ‘Mithuna’ (Gemini) sign.
Kaleshwaram temple is located around 135 kilometers east of Karimnagar. The town is 277 kilometer north of Hyderabad. The ritual of pushkaram is more popular in Andhra Pradesh. The main ritual involves taking a holy dip the river. In Saraswati Pushkaram, holy dip is taken in Pranahita and Godavari rivers.
SARASWATI PUSHKARAM IN RAJASTHAN
In Rajasthan, the Saraswati Pushkarams take place at the Brahma Temple at Pushkar also called the Brahma Pushkar. The ritual mainly consists of the people taking a dip in the holy Pushkar Lake as penance for their sins and their exculpation.
SARASWATI PUSHKARAM IN MADHYA PRADESH
In Madhya Pradesh, the Saraswati Pushkarams take place in Ujjain. Ujjain, the city of Mahakal, previously known as Avanti, Kushsthali, Kanashringa, Bhaumvati, Padmavati, Pratikalpa, Amaravati, Vishala, Avantika and Ujjayani is considered to be among the holiest cities in India. The only south-facing idol of Mahakaleshwar, regarded as the God of all the deities and demons alike, is situated at Ujjain. The Adi Purana describes Ujjain as the most sacred city on the earth