The Indian sub-continent is endowed with numerous rivers and each of them has its own significance. One such river of prominence is the Tungabhadra which starts from the state of Karnataka and continues its course through two neighbouring states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Pushkaralu or Pushkaram is a religious festival dedicated to the worship of 12 major rivers that flow across the country. The festival is known as Pushkar in the North and in the Telugu dialect is known as Pushkaram or Pushkaralu.
The Tungabhadra Pushkaralu is a 12-day festival held in honour of the Tungabhadra river. It is celebrated when Jupiter enters Capricorn (Makar rashi). Makara is the zodiac sign associated with the river. Its significance is very high as the once in 12-year event is considered auspicious and a dip in the holy river is believed to get rid of one’s sins.
During this period several holy rituals are observed, and each day holds a special significance. People worship a dedicated Hindu god for each of the 12 days with donation of specific items and holy chants. It is also the period when people offer prayers to their ancestors.
According to the Andhra Pradesh Endowments Department officials, the Tungabhadra Pushkaralu 2020 will commence on November 20, Friday, at 1.21 pm. It will last for 12 days and culminate on December 1.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy will inaugurate the holy festival and the Kurnool district administration has taken all measures for the smooth conduct of Tungabhadra Pushkaralu. The administration has arranged 23 ghats for the occasion. They have appointed 350 priests for rituals associated with the festival.
In view of the ongoing pandemic situation, none of the pilgrims will be allowed to take a dip in the river, however a row of showers have been arranged near the ghats. Special teams have been formed to monitor the arrangement facilities during the pushkaralu and pilgrims will be allowed only by e-ticket systems.
The administration has set up special tents, toilets, bathrooms and dressing rooms to maintain sanitation and cleanliness. Temporary hospitals and medical tents and food distribution counters are available for pilgrims. More than 4,000 policemen will keep a close eye on the event.