Thamirabarani is a river in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
From Sahayadri to Bay of Bengal in Tirunelveli
This river starts from the southern end of Western Ghats – Sahayadri and flows eastwards into Bay of Bengal.
The shape of India narrows down in south substantially, and so the length of this river from origin to its meeting the sea, is all in one district, namely Tirunelveli.
Rishi Agastya mentions about this river. His Ashram was located on the upper reaches of this river.
This river is mentioned in Ramayana.
Sugreeva mentions about this river.
Sugreeva dispatches a set of Vanara to the South and instructs them to search for Sita in the following locations –
“Search the Malayagir mountains, you will find Rishi Agastya there, then cross Kaveri river, then cross Tamaraparani river, then you will see the Golden Door of Kapada puram, Capital of Pandya Kings,”
– Valmiki Ramayanam
– Kishkinda Khandam Chapter 41 – Sloka 14-18
Sugreeva instructing the Vanara to search in all directions – A Palm leaf sketch
More on this in our book, Historical Rama.
In the Mahabharata, this river is mentioned in a sloka (3.88) which says, “O Son of Kunti, I shall now describe to you the Tamaraparani River. On the banks of this river, the deva undertook penance to attain Mukti.”
Many Tamil texts including the 3 Sangam literature speak of this great river.
Tamil Scholar of Sangam period
Pandya kings ruled here
The famous Pandya kings of Tamil Nadu ruled by this river.
The either banks of this river abound in temples.
There are 9 Vishnu temples along the banks of the river Tamirabarani, which make up the Nava Tirupati.
In Vaishnava tradition, we have the famous 4000 verses called Nalayaram Divya Prabandham, sung by the Alwars. Nama Alwar, the first Alwar sang of these 9 temples, which can be found in the Prabandham.
Similarly, many Nayanmars also lived along this river.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s visit to Nava Tirupati
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a poet saint who lived during the 16th century.
Bhakti means “devotion” and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a great devotee of Krishna.
In Chaitanya Charitamrita, it is mentioned that this poet saint visited the Nava Tirupati Temple.
More on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in our book, Historical Krishna.
Karukkuthurai Murugan Temple
Karukkuthurai Murugan Temple on Thamirabarani River
This river is in many ways intertwined with hoary tradition, culture and literature of the Tamil land.
Pushkaram every 12 years
Along this river too, Kumbha Mela / Pushkaram is celebrated once in 12 years. It is celebrated every 12 years as one revolution of Jupiter takes 12 years, thus this Pushakaram is held every 12 years.
Aarthi being performed to Thamirabarani River
Jupiter Transit from Tula to Vrshaka
This happens during the next Guru Peyarchi.
The Thamirabarani Pushkaram is celebrated when Jupiter transits from Libra, Tula Rashi to Scorpia, Vrshaka Rashi.
It will be celebrated this year, Sri Vilambi year, “Purattasi” Month, from 26th Friday to “Ippasi” Month to 6th Tuesday.
In the Gregorian Calendar, the event falls from October 12th 2018 to October 23rd 2018.
It will be celebrated at Kurukkuthiruai, Thirunueveli.
Kumbha Mela is one of the oldest and largest congregations of Indian civilization. In a sense, it is a congregation more than a festival.
The Kumbh Mela festival
The Kumbh festival is based on the story of creation where the Kumbh, the pot of nectar spilled out its contents and led to the formation of the Universe. This is a depiction of the profound description in the Veda of the scientific process of Creation from the cosmic egg called Hiranyagarbha, a golden hued womb which bursts open as a Brahmanda Visfotak, a Big Bang, to spew out the Universe.
More on the Kumbh – Creation connect in our book and film, Creation – Srishti Vignana.
Mahapushkaram every 144 years
Thamirabarani Mahapushkaram is celebrated every 144 years, as 12 X 12 = 144. The coming Pushkaram is doubly significant, as it is going to be 144th year after the last Mahapushkaram.
Need to protect from Pollution
In the name of development as has happened to all other rivers in India, this river has also been substantially polluted over the last few decades.
Apart from the ceremonial congregations and rituals along the river we should take a solemn vow to clean this one large perennial river in Tamil Nadu, and bring it back to its pristine purity.