The Kumbh Mela of Tamil Nadu - Mahamaham, held in temple town of Kumbakonam some 300 km south of the state capital - began on Saturday with thousands of devotees taking a dip in the Mahamaham tank on the opening day of the once-in-12 years congregation in Tanjavur district.
In all, the Kumbakonam administration is expecting a crowd of 10 lakh devotees from India and abroad to visit for a holy dip during the 10 day event, with the maximum attendance expected during the culmination of the event on February 22.
Chief minister J Jayalalithaa held a review meeting to oversee preparations for the Mahamaham carried out by the State Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) department. Doctors are posted at the temple town and medicines stocked to prevent any outbreak of diseases. Police have made elaborate security arrangements to prevent stampede. A strong team of 25,000 policemen and 3000 home guards have been deployed in the town.
A bath in the holy tank is considered to bring good fortune. This tank has 20 wells named after 20 holy rivers flowing across the country. It is believed that a dip in these wells rids one of a specific sin and confers specific blessing to the devotee.
All vehicles will be halted at least one and half kms from the temple and all temples will be cordoned off. Vehicles would be stopped one and half km ahead of the Aadi Humbeswarar Mangalambigai temple tank, where all the pilgrims take a dip.
The tanks will have only two feet of water for safety reasons.