Fascinating Masi Maham festival at Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

Masi Magam festival is an important event in Tamil Nadu and it falls  in the Tamil month of Masi (February - March),which is considered an  auspicious day. Magam, one among the twenty seven stars (Nakshatras / constellation) in the Hindu Astrological system  is believed to be  the most suitable time for spiritual purification.

This day is believed to be  the most powerful Full Moon day of the year,  as the  moon aligns with Magha which is the birth Star of the Kings and Ancestors. This rare event  occurs only once a year and, it is strongly believed in the Hindu tradition, that this day marks  the descent of heavenly beings to the earth. The belief has been that these heavenly bodies assume an astral form to purify their own karma as well as the karma of the human race.
part of Mahamaham tank, Kumbakonam. Shutterstock
Masi Magam is symbolic of the benefits of abundance and prosperity associated with the Full Moon and it an opportunity for the devotees to engage in spiritual purification to gain mental power and energy to succeed in their undertakings. Equally significant is the fact that Masi Magam is the most providential time to destroy our ego and arrogance and surrender ourselves at the feet of the all-pervading lord.

As part of the Masi Maham festivities of the famous Sri Adikumbeswarar temple here, devotees took out a procession of 63 Nayanmars around the town on Sunday.

At Kumbakonam the 10-day long Masi Maham festival  commenced in the temple with the traditional  hoisting of the sacred flag on 2 March  2017. There was a procession of
63 great Tamil Saivite saints - Nayanmars around the town on Sunday.The following period is marked by the daily processions of deities around the temple. At Shiva temples, there will be devotional rendering of Thevaram, Thirumurai hymns. The entire town wears a festive look during this period. 

In the  temple city of Kumbakonam on last Saturday -11 March 2017 the annual Masi Maham festival was celebrated by the Hindus in large numbers from various parts of the state of Tamil Nadu. This year Masi Maham festival assumes greater religious significance because it is the first Maham festival after the grand Mahamaham festival that is held every 12 years. As you may recall, the great Mahamaham festival was celebrated on the day of Maham last year. The main Teerthavari of the Shiva temples was held at the Mahamaham Kulam (tank) and at the Vishnu temples, chariot (rath) festival was held with bakthi. This annual important festival was marked by  principal processional deities (Utchavars) of 12 Saivite temples   that arrived in the morning on Rishaba (Bull) Vahana (mount) at the banks Mahamaham tank. This was followed by abishekams (immersion of deities in the tank) for the "Asthiradevars" of the respective shrines and finally Teerthavari was done for the Asthiradevars at the Maham tank around 11.30 am. Once this main event was over, thousands of devotees took a holy dip in the Maham tank and for this purpose the water level in the tank was kept low and treated fresh water was let into the tank by the government officials. It is believed nearly 50,000 to 60,000 people would have taken bath by noon at the Mahamaha kulam. Principal processional deities brought to the tank were Adhikumbeswarar, Kasi Viswanathar, Abhimukheswarar, Gowthameswarar, Banapureeswarar, Amirthakalasanathar, Kambatta Viswanathar, Kotteeswarar, Ekambareswarar, Nageswarar, Someswarar and Kalahastheeswarar temples.
Masi Maham at Kumbakonam. www.drikpanchang.com/
Maha Maham tank, Kumbakonam. mahamaham.tmssmlibrary.com
Location map of Kumbakonam. Thinkingparticle.com
At the famous Chakrapni temple , in the morning chariot festival was held  and Tepporsavam (float festival) was held at the Potramarai Kulam. As the water in the tank was insignificant the float festival was held on a low key level. In the evening, the Utchavars from Chakkarapani, Rajagopala
swamy and Adhivaraha swamy- all from Vaishnavite temples were taken to the banks of Cauvery for the ‘Theerthavari’.

 Hundreds of holy people who  came in  a procession from Panchaiyappan street of Kumbakonam  performed Maha Arathi’ to the sacred tank.