River Brahmaputra will play host to planet Jupiter as it enters Dhanur Rasi. Legend has it that during the transit, Guru (Jupiter), who resides in the kamandal of Brahma, will enter the river associated with the Rasi and be there for a year, the first 12 days from the day of entry and the last 12 days being especially auspicious. The planet moves from Vrichikam to Dhanur rasi on November 5. Elaborate arrangements have been made for pilgrims to have a bath at Guwahati, Assam, on the banks of the Brahmaputra. The venue is Sonaram High School Ground, Assam Trunk Road (A.T. Road), Shantipur, Baralumukh. Guwahati, incidentally is one of the 51 Sakti Pitas and is the abode of Goddess Kamakhya.
Last year, Pushkaram was celebrated on the banks of the Tamiraparani in Tirunelveli dsitrict — at Tiruppudaimarudur and Kurukkuturai. ‘Anthima Pushkaram’ will be celebrated at Kurukkuturai, November 1-3. The Cauvery was the celebrated river in 2017 and Pushkaram festival was conducted at Mayiladuthurai, Allur and other ghats along the river’s course. Godavari and Krishna were the rivers celebrated in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Said to be the only male river, the Brahmaputra has its origin in the Himalayas, flows through Tibet and enters Assam as Pushkaravahini. Many stories are connected to the river. It was a bath in the river, which washed Parasurama of the sin of killing his mother. The axe, which had stuck to his hand, fell into the massive Brahamputra. The blood mixed in the water and is said to account for the red colour of the river at some places.
A Pushkara festival committee, headed by Mahalakshmi Subramaniam, has been formed with the blessings of the heads of various religious Maths and Adheenams and the cooperation of the State machinery, including the Chief Minister and a host of officials. The Kanchi Math at Guwahati is among the local coordinators.
“Sind and Brahmaputra are the two rivers associated with Dhanur Rasi. Since only a small part of Sind is in India and at a high altitude, Brahmaputra has been chosen,” explains a release from the Committee. “The country’s heritage of worshipping Nature, especially rivers, which are the land’s lifelines, is showcased during these festivals. They serve as reminders of this land’s precious tradition,” it adds. Pujas, homams and other rituals will be performed during the Pushkaram period — November 5-16. Pushkara bath will be inaugurated after pujas on November 5 at 5.17 a.m. In the morning on November 4, pujas will be performed at the Kanchitarta Ganapati temple, Poorva Balaji temple and Kamakhya temple. Preliminary rituals will begin in the evening. Water from seven holy rivers will be brought in pots and puja done at the Sonaram School ground.
Yagasala pujas will begin at 3.30 a.m. on November 5. The ghatams will be taken in a procession to the river at 4.30. The waters will be consigned to the Brahmaputra and Pushkara Pravesam will take place at 5.17. A flag will be hoisted (Dwajarohanam), signalling the start of the festival. A souvenir will be released. Yagams and special pujas will follow. In the evening, River Aarati — a song has been composed for the occasion — chanting of Vishnu Sahasranamam, Lalitha Sahasranamam, etc., will take place. Dignitaries and those who have lent valuable support to the conduct of the festival will be honoured. The act of charity ( dhaanam ) done during this period has been hailed as most superior.
Arrangements, therefore, have been made for the transport and stay of a host of Vedic scholars, guided by Kumbakonam Sri Dinakara Sarma, priests to perform the yagams under the leadership of Chidambaram Tyagappa Dikshitar and Sivarama Dikshitar and Vaidikas to perform various rituals. Contact 9840053289 and 9444279696.
Special bus service
The Assam State Transport Corporation, in collaboration with the Assam Tourism Development Corporation, has planned to organise special buses for the pilgrims during Pushkaram. The service will start at the Sonaram Ground and cover nine destinations, including Umananda temple. The cost of ₹251 will include ferry charges. The Assam Tourism website has the details.