The Mahamaham is a festival that comes once in 12 years and Monday is the culmination of the 10-day festival at Kumbakonam. The first nine days have passed without any incident and on Monday, more than 20 lakh people are expected to be in Kumbakonam.
A leading daily reports that the city will be packed with devotees who want to take a dip in the Mahamaham tank. Extensive security arrangements have been put in place as well as medical facilities, food, accommodation and transport. Lakhs of devotees have thronged the town for the last nine days and things have gone smoothly for the authorities as well. Many sadhus and agoris have also come from North India for this festival.
In 1992, when the Mahamaham took place, at least 50 devotees were killed. Since then, authorities allow devotees to take a holy dip from day one itself rather than just on the tenth day which can cause a stampede. There were around 35 lakh people who came for the festival in 2004. This year, it is expected that more than 50 lakh people would have attended it in the 10 days.
The daily reports that this year there are water sprinklers to spray holy water on people, but most people still prefer to take a dip in the holy pond.