Pushkaram (Pushkaraalu or Pushkar) is festival dedicated to worshiping of rivers in India.
There are 12 major holy rivers in India and prayers are offered and holy dip is taken along the banks of these rivers.
- Pushkaram for each river comes once in 12 years.
- Each river is associated with a zodiac sign, and the river for each year’s festival is based on which sign Jupiter is in at the time.
- Pushkar mean nourisher
- Pushakara is a Brahmin who was granted a boon from Shiva after severe penance to live in water and purify holy rivers.
- On a request from Bṛihaspati (Jupiter), Pushkar enters one of the 12 holy rivers when Jupiter traveled from one zodiac sign to another.
- The Pushkaram tradition is not mentioned in the early Hindu texts but it is part of the medieval Hindu rituals.
The sacred rivers include:
|#||Rashi||Zodiac sign||River Pushkaram||Next Pushkaram|
|1||Mesha||Aries||Ganga (Ganges)||April 22 – May 5, 2023|
|2||Vrishabha||Taurus||Narmada||April 22 – May 5, 2024|
|3||Mithuna||Gemini||Saraswati||May 15–26, 2025|
|4||Karka||Cancer||Yamuna||June 2–13, 2026|
|5||Simha||Leo||Godavari, (Maharashtra Telangana and Andhra Pradesh)||2027|
|6||Kanya||Virgo||Krishna, (Telangana and Andhra Pradesh)||August 12–23, 2016|
|7||Tula||Libra||Kaveri||September 12–23, 2017|
|8||Vrishchika||Scorpio||Bhima (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana).
Tamraparni (Thamirabarani) river (Tamil Nadu)
|September 12–23, 2018|
|9||Dhanus||Sagittarius||Tapti, (Pushkaravahini). Brahmaputra (Assam)||March 29 – April 9, 2019|
|10||Makara||Capricorn||Tungabhadra||March 30 – April 10, 2020|
|11||Kumbha||Aquarius||Sindhu (Indus)||April 6–17, 2021|
|12||Mina||Pisces||Pranhita (Parineeta)||April 13–24, 2022|
- Pushkaram celebrations include reverence of ancestors, spiritual discourses, devotional music and cultural programmes.
- Snanam (holy dip), Dānam (charity), Japam (recitation of mantras), Archana and Dhyana (meditation) – done by the devotees
- The festival lasts for a year as Jupiter remains in the corresponding zodiac sign for the same duration.
- The first 12 days (Adi Pushkaram) when the Jupiter enters the zodiac sign and the last 12 days (Anthya Pushkaram) when it exits the zodiac sign are considered as most auspicious as Pushkar will travel with Jupiter as Jupiter moves from one Zodiac house to another
- A dip in the sacred river is believed to erase all sins.