Godavari Maha Pushkaram (Great Worship of the Godavari River) was a Hindu festival held from 14 July to 25 July 2015. This festival occurs once every 144 years, corresponding to the 12th recurrence of the 12-year Godavari Pushkaram cycle.The festival starts from the Ashadha (June/July) month on the Chaturdashi day (thithi) (14th day), when planet Jupiter enters the zodiac sign of Leo.The festival is “theoretically” observed throughout the twelve months that the planet remains in that sign, but the first 12 days are considered most sacred.The first 12 days of the Godavari Pushkaram are known as “Aadhi Pushkaram” and the last 12 days are titled “Anthya Pushkaralu”.The next Maha Pushkaram will be celebrated in 2159.At least 27 pilgrims, 13 of them women, died and 20 others injured in a stampede at a major bathing spot on the banks of the Godavari river where a huge crowd of devotees had gathered on the opening day of ‘Pushkaram’ festival

“Maha” means “great” and Pushkaram refers to the worship of the river in which the god Pushkar appears every 12 years.Pushakaram is spelled Pushkaralu in Telugu, Pushkaram in Tamil, Pushkara in Kannada, and Pushkar in Hindi.

Pushkaram is an Indian festival dedicated to worshiping of 12 sacred rivers. The celebration happens annually, once in 12 years along each river. Each river is associated with a zodiac sign, and the river for each year’s festival is based on which sign Bruhaspathi (Jupiter) is in at the time.It is believed that bathing in the sacred river during Pushkaram cleanses the devotees of their sins.

Godavari is one of the 12 sacred rivers, and the Godavari Pushkaram takes place once every 12 years, when the Jupiter is in the Leo sign. The Maha Pushkaram (“Great Pushkaram”) takes place once every 144 years.

The places on the banks of the Godavari River where pilgrims visit famous temples are in the five districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The notable places are Manthani, Basar, Dharmapuri, Koti Lingala, Kaleshwaram, Bhadrachalam in Telangana and Rajahmundry,Kovvur, Narasapuram, Antervedi in Andhra Pradesh.

The Maha Pushkaram festival in 2015 attracted 48.1 million people in Andhra Pradesh and 57 million people in the Telangana state link from all parts of India.On this occasion, it is essential to take a holy dip in the Godavari River to get the supposed benefits of better physical and mental abilities.The Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have made all arrangements for this event in their respective states by constructing ghats for bathing and improving road communications, basic amenities of water supply and sanitation, and security. In Andhra Pradesh. the budget allocated for improvement of infrastructure facilities is INR 1,295 crores.