Today's tragedy at the Godavari Pushkaram in Rajahmundry where 27 people have breathed their last during a stampede has not been an auspicious start to the holy event. Here's a lowdown on the whole event that takes place once in twelve years:
* The river Godavari originates at the Tryambakeshwar temple in Nashik and flows in quite a few places in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which are called Divyakshetrams.
* The primary Divyakshetram is Basara, where apparently Maharishi Vyas wrote the Hindu epic Mahabharata. During the once-in-twelve-years event of Godavari Pushkaralu, people in Telangana go to Basara to take a holy dip. After that the river flows towards Dharmapuri in Karimnagar district. Then it moves onto Kaleshwaram.
* From Telangana, the river reaches Andhra Pradesh, where the first stop is Bhadrachalam,a temple dedicated to Lord Ram's devotee Bhadra. Next stop is Pattiseema, which is also known as Varanasi of South India. Then it reaches Kovvuru on its western side and then the big venue, which is Rajahmundry, the 1,000-year-old historical town where today's tragedy took place.
* The 12-day event takes place in eleven cities: Nirmal, Basara, Dharmapuri, Kaleswaram, Bhadrachalam, Pattiseema, Kovvuru, Rajahmundry, Davaleshwaram, Narsapuram, Antarvedi.
* This year's Pushkaram has a huge significance. This time it's the Godavari Maha Pushkaram, which takes place once every 144 years. The next Maha Pushkaram will be celebrated in 2159.
* More than 10 million people are expected to attend the festival over the next 12 days.
* The 'Pushakaram' is a similar to the 'Kumbh Mela' performed alongside rivers elsewhere in the country and taking holy dip is the main ritual of the festival.
* The two state governments have made elaborate arrangements in terms of convenience of pilgrims and also security for the smooth conduct of the event that is celebrated once in 12 years.
* The Andhra Pradesh Government has spent more than Rs 1,000 crores over the Pushkaram arrangements on renovating the temples dotted all over East Godavari and West Godavari districts and in making the bathing ghats ready for the grand event.
* Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited by AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to take part in the fete but he is unable to make it due to his busy schedule, but it is expected that more than ten Union Ministers will visit Rajahmundry during the period.