Since the Godavari Pushkaram will be coming up in a short while, here’s brief primer on what you need to know about this once-in-twelve-year event.
About Godavari & Pushkarams
Second longest river (1465 kilometers) in India after Ganga
Originates 80kms from Arabian Sea at Brahmagiri Hill near Triambakeshwar
Triambakeshwar is one of the Jyotirlingas and the linga is said to have 3 faces
The Kumbh Mela at Triambakeshwar and nearby Nashik is starting on July 15.
It is said of Godavari, “South of the Vindhya Mountains the Ganga is called Gautami, while north of the Vindhyas she is called Bhagirathi
After crossing Rajahmundry, Godavari splits into 4 channels called Gautami, Vasishta, Nilarevu, Vainateya. These are 4 of the 7 mouths through which it meets the sea. The other 3 are no longer present.
About Godavari Pushkaram
Pushkaram is held once every 12 years. This year’s pushkaram is from July 14-25. This year it marks the ‘Maha Pushkaram’, which comes once in 144 years. Astrologically, Brihaspati (Jupiter) enters Simha rasi (Leo). It is called Maha Pushkaram as it is the 12th time, the 12-year Pushkaram cycle is being held starting with Ashadha month on Chaturdashi
Pushkaras are celebrated at 12 rivers, 1 river per year, according to which rasi Jupiter enters that year. Though the festival is theoretically ongoing throughout the year, only the first 12 days of Jupiter entering the rasi are celebrated. The last 12 days of Jupiter leaving the rasi are also considered auspicious.
The 12 rivers are: Ganga, Narmada, Saraswati, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Bhima (tributary of Krishna), Tapti, Tungabhadra, Sindhu, Pranhita (tributary of Godavari)
The mythology of pushkaram says that a person received a boon from Shiva that he would reside in and purify rivers. This person’s name was Pushkara (one who nourishes). On Brihaspati’s request, he goes from river to river as Jupiter travels through the zodiac.
Important Places Near Godavari
The pancharama temples are located neaby. Four are in the East & West Godavari districts and one is in Krishna district. These 5 temples are said to have 5 lingas that are derived from the same linga. There are many legends associated with these lingas. One says that Karthikeya broke the original linga, which Tarakasura wore around his throat, and established these 5 lingas. Another story says the original linga was worshipped by the saptarishis, and yet another story says that when Shiva destroyed Tripura, the original linga was all that was left of the cities.
The pancharama’s are: Kumara Bhimeswara Swamy (installed by Karthikeya), Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy (installed by Rama), Someswara Swamy (installed by Chandra), Bhimesvara Swamy (installed by Surya), Amaralingeswara Swamy (installed by Indra). It is said that Agastya and Lopamudra visited some of these.
Among these, Draksharama (where the linga is Bhimesvara Swamy) is called the Kashi of the South. This is said to have been Daksha’s abode, where he performed the yagna where Sati left her body. One of the shakti peethas is located nearby. The linga is said to have been setup by the saptarishis, but they were unable to finish the process before sunrise, and Surya completed it. Rama is also said to have worshipped Shiva here. It is said that Daksha had asked the Saptarishis to bring the Godavari to Draksharama (which is about 15 kms away), and it is present as an underground river.