Tamil Nadu State is fortunate is having within it an ancient city of Holy traditions in Kumbakonam where once in 12 years occur the great Mahamaham festival which attracts about 50 lakhs of pilgrims from far and near. In the whole state, this is the only places having such tradition and importance where a mela is held once in 12 years. The festival is an occasion of highly religious and spiritual importance. A bath in the Mahamaham tank on the day when the moon comes in the months on Kumba (masi) when the Sun travels in Leo in considered very holy.
It is said then that the waters of the nine Sacred Rivers, Ganga, Yamuna, Sarayu, Saraswathi, Narmada,Tungabadra, Krishna, and Godavari are present at the tank on that Holy day and add to the sacredness. These Nava Kannikas are also in granite image forms in the Sri Kasiviswanatha Swami Temple just in the Northern Bank of the tank (and hence the town is also called Dakshina Kasi) where pilgrims Kumbakonam after bath go there and workship the goddesses.
The Mahamaham tank itself is a rectangular one measuring 6 acress and 2813 Sq,feet with granite steps all around leading into the tank and 16 Mandapams all around with Gods inside believed to have been built by Govinda Dikshidar Minister to the Naik Kings at Thanjavur about the 15-th Century.
The festival was celeberated on February 2, 1968, March 1, 1980, February 22,1992. The last Mahamaham was celebrated on March 6, 2004, with people from various places taking the holy dip in the Mahamaham tank. The next Mahamaham will be celebrated in the year 2016.