The Godavari Pushkaram slated to commence from the 14th of July to 25th July 2015 is called the Mahakumbhamela. This occurs once in 144 years. The Pushkaram is a River Festival where the rivers are worshipped and energized. Derived from the Sanskrit word Push referring to Pushti meaning nourishment and kara meaning one who energizes. Thus Pushkara refers to the one who energizes or nourishes the rivers. Each river celebrates the Pushkarams once in twelve years and this wholly based on the transit of the planet Jupiter known as Bhrihaspathi into a particular zodiac, each zodiac standing for a particular river. The Godavari pushkaram commences when Jupiter enters the sign Simha or Leo.
Legend has it that Pushkara is the son of Varuna, the presiding deity of rivers. Pushkara prayed to Lord Brahma to grant him the privilege of residing in Brahma’s kamandala which holds all the sacred waters with a view to purifying it. Pleased with his selfless desire Lord Brahma acquiesced to his request. Pushkara also performed penances to please Lord Shiva and was named the Theerthapalaka or King of all theerthas. Brihaspathi wanted Pushkara to be associated with him on account of his purity. Lord Brahma asked Pushkara to be with Brihaspathi (Jupiter) for 12 days in the beginning and 12 days at the end of his sojourn in a particular raasi (house) in the zodiac, the transit of which generally happens once in a year. Twelve sacred rivers benefit from this association and the Pushkaras are observed once in twelve years coinciding with the transit of Jupiter into the twelve zodiac signs. Each river is identified with a particular zodiac sign. Each Pushkaram is for for 24 days, the first 12 known as Adi pushkaram and the last 12 referred to as Anthya pushkaram.
It is believed that all the devas, sages, ancestors, various river deities all enter into the holy waters along with Pushkara and Brihaspathi rendering it as a holy event. People bathe, worship, perform rituals to the ancestors and generally pray to be rid of their sins while having a dip in the holy waters. The theertha kshetras for the Godavari Pushkarams are Dharmapuri, Karimnagar, Kaleshwaram, Basar and the temple town of Bhadrachalam in Telangana and Narasapuram, Kovvur and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.