Festival deities from all the temples in Kumbakonam arrive at the tank. At noon all the deities bathe along with the devotees called "Theerthavari". The temple cars of major temples in Kumbakonam come around the city on the festival night. Mahamaham bathing festival is concentrated on a single day. The Tank is located in the heart of Kumbakonam town that covers an area of 6.2 acres and is trapezoidal in shape. The tank is surrounded by 16 small Mandapams and has 21 wells inside the tank. The names of the wells carry the name of Lord Shiva or that of Rivers of India. The name of the wells: Vayu Theertham, Ganga Theertham, Bramma Theertham, Yamuna Theertham, Kubera Theertham, Godavari Theertham, Eshana Theertham, Narmada Theertham, .Saraswathi Theertham, Indira Theertham, Agni Theertham, Cauvery Theertham, Yama Theertham, Kumari Theertham, Niruthi Theertham, Bayoshni Theertham, Deva Theertham, Varunai Theertham, Sarayu Theertham and Kanya Theertham
The Tank has four streets along its four banks. There are 16 Mandapas around the corners and sides of the tank. These are considered to be forms of lord Shiva. The names of the Gopuram Tower:
Brammatheertheshwarar, Mukundeshwarar, Dhaneshwarar, Virushabeshwarar, Baaneshwarar, Koneshwarar, Bhakthikeshwarar, Bhairaveshwarar, Agasthyeshwarar, Vyaneshwarar, Umaibakeshwarar, Nairutheeshwarar, Brammeshwarar, Gangatheshwarar, Mukthatheertheshwarar and Shethrabaleshwarar
Legend of Mahamaham Festival
It is believed that the God of Creation, Lord Brahma will go for a sleep once in a while and it will result in the destruction of all the living beings in the earth which is called Brahma pralayam. In order to sustain life on earth, Lord Shiva instructs the educated to take sample of seeds of living organisms in a pot filled with elixer and keep it atop Himalayas. When the Brahma pralayam started, it killed all living creatures in the earth including the ones who filled the pot. When all the excess water dried up, the pot settled in a place now called Kumbakonam. Lord Shiva took the form of a Hunter and split opened the pot with his arrow. Everything poured out of into the Mahamaham tank and life on earth started flourishing again. Shiva in here is called as Kumbehswarar.
Mahamaham Day Worship
On the Mahamaham day people start praying Lord Shiva. It is continued by dips in the 20 wells, visit to Kumbeswarar Temple, dip in the holy tank and finally in Kaveri river to complete the process.
Metal idols of the deities of the main temples of Kumbakonam is carried on palanquins or chariots and taken around the different streets of the town.
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