Godavari Pushkaralu:The Spiritual Fragrances

By: Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
[The writer is CPRO to Telangana CM]

As Jupiter enters the zodiac sign Leo, the much-awaited Godavari Pushkaralu 2015 begins on July 14. With a view to celebrate them on a grand scale, in a way never observed before, Telangana government has made elaborate arrangements in all aspects to make them a grand success. Jupiter will be in one zodiac sign or other every year. But when he enters and joins Pushkarudu, River Godavari gets Pushkaralu. Similarly, Pushkaralu are also performed for different rivers in the country, in different years. These rivers are: Ganges, Reva, Saraswathi, Yamuna, Krishna, Kaveri, Bheemarathi, Brahmaputra, Tungabhadra, Sindh and Praneeta. It is believed that during the Pushkaralu to a particular river, all the 33 crores Hindu gods and goddesses will come and take a holy dip in that river. The Pushkaralu occur once in every 12 years and Godavari Pushkaralu was last celebrated in the year 2003. This year’s, Pushkaralu are referred as Maha kumbhamela as this category occur once in every 144 years.

Godavari is the biggest and largest river in Southern India and is often quoted as Dakshin Ganga. Mythology says that Sage Maharishi Gowthama brought the Ganges down to earth after several years’ rigorous meditation and Godavari was branched out of it. River Godavari originated at Nasik Trayambak and travels for 136 kilometers in Maharashtra. Later it enters Telangana state at Kandakurthi in Nizamabad district. It passes through Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Warangal, and Khammam districts at places Basara, Dharmapuri, Kaleswaram, Eturu Nagaram and Bhadrachalam before entering into East and West Godavari districts in AP and then joins Sea at Antarvedi.

Pushkaralu for any river are basically an elaborate religious and pious program spread over 12 days dating back to the age-old traditions and customs. It is a faith among the people that Pushkarudu will cast a spell on the river during these 12 days Pushkaralu, and hence taking a holy dip during the period is considered virtuous and spiritually beneficial. It is also believed that those who take a dip during Pushkaralu will be benefited with longevity, wealth and prosperity. During the Pushkaralu period, people also perform rituals for those dead who were close to the family including friends. This is precisely the reason why, like in Kumbha Mela for the holy Ganges, for Godavari River also Lakhs of people visit to take a holy dip. The Telangana State government has taken this as a prestigious program and wanted to organize it in a big way. Government is not considering it as an official program but wants to provide every facility that is required to the pilgrims as its committed responsibility. In addition to providing facilities the Government also is taking care of every aspect of law and order issues.

During the previous Pushkaralu in the year 2003, the then Government of Andhra Pradesh, with a view to gain political benefit in the forthcoming elections that were due in 2004, created a hype and concentrated on publicity gimmicks. Contrary to that the present TRS Government in a focused manner, evinced keen interest in providing facilities rather on publicity. The government has grabbed this opportunity to start religious and cultural tourism. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had instructed the officials concerned to ensure facilities at all the bath Ghats, renovate temples to enable pilgrims to conveniently have an easy and comfortable Darshan. The state government also made all arrangements for Lakhs of devotees that are expected to come from all parts of the country, neighboring states like Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, and even from abroad. Excellent transport facilities, connecting routes were arranged for the easy mobility of people and to have smooth and hassle free visit. A massive publicity campaign is devised to attract all Telangana people residing in other places like Mumbai, Bhivandi, Sholapoor, Surat and other towns to come to Telangana and take a holy dip in the river Godavari during the Pushkaralu. Enough of awareness has been created on Pushkaralu in northern part of India also. Non Resident Indians in several countries are expected to visit Telangana State for a holy dip. Additional facilities have been provided by the Government in places like Basara, Dharmapuri, Kaleswaram, Kandakurti, Bhadrachalam etc. where people are expected to come in larger numbers than others. Women and children will be ensured special care and protection. Regulation of pilgrims rush will be taken care of. Medical facilities are also provided.

Realising the importance and the need for arrangements on a large scale, the Chief Minister initiated action almost a year ago itself. Review meetings were held on a regular basis in regular intervals. A cabinet sub-committee has been constituted to oversee the arrangements and creation of facilities. Accordingly, all facilities for the devotees coming from various places are taken care by the Telangana government. Basic infrastructure amenities like improvement of flood banks, bund beautification, widening roads, improving bathing Ghats, development of parking areas, sanitation, toilets, drinking water facilities, temporary accommodation, first aid etc are being created. The state government will organize the Godavari Pushkaralu in 5 districts namely Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, and Warangal districts. A total of 106 Pushkar Ghats are constructed along the river Godavari in these five districts at all the holy temple towns namely, Basara, Dharmapuri, Kaleswaram, Bhadrachalam, as well as at places where Godavari flows like Kandakurti, Pochampadu, Manchiryal, Goodem, Ramannagudem, and Parnasala.

Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao, who himself has a deep knowledge and understanding about the rituals, methods and practices to be observed during Pushkaralu, had instructed officials to be in touch with the Peetaadhipathis, spiritual leaders, Swamis, Hindu preachers and seek their blessings and advice from time to time. Advisor to Government K V Ramanachary, Spiritual Guru to the CM, Mritunjaya Sarma, Yayavaram Chandrashekara Siddhanti, 90 year old Palakurthi Nrusimha Siddhanthi and others as a team met them and extended invitation for Pushkaralu. The Peethadhipathis include among others Kanchi, Srungeri, Pushpagiri, Mantralayam, Kurtalam and Vijayadurga. In addition they also extended invitation to Swaroopananda Swamy, Gurumadananda Swamy, China Jeer Swamy, Dharmapuri Sachindanda Swamy, and a host of other Seers. Almost all of them agreed in principle to participate in Pushkaralu. China Jeeyar Swamy offered to visit Bhadrachalam on the first day to have a holy dip in the Godavari river there. Later he would spend five days at Manchiryal and would perform Pushkaralu related rituals and yagnas-Yagasbesides addressing pilgrims with a holy discourse. Guru Madananda Swamy will be at Basara on the first day and later for the rest of twelve days tour different places in Telangana. Rest of the Peethadhipathis will go to other places and temples there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *