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Huge crowd witnesses float festival at ‘teppakulam' in Madurai

Special Correspondent

— Photos: S. James

A SPECTACLE ANY TIME:The float of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple being drawn around the Mariamman Temple Tank in the city on Thursday;


MADURAI: A large number of people gathered around the huge teppakulam here on Thursday to witness the float festival of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. The deities, Meenakshi and Sundareswarar and Piriyavidai, were taken in a decorated float around the ‘Vasantha Mandapam' located at the centre of the tank.

While youth from Anuppanadi regulated the movement of the float from the mandapam, devotees pulled it from the periphery of the tank's parapet. During the day, it was a grand spectacle as the float wound its way around the teppakulam over water filled much ahead of the festival. The water was so clean that it gave an impression that the teppakulam was being served by a perennial source.

Lights added colour to the festival at night when people turned up in large numbers. Traffic was regulated around the water body to facilitate smooth movement of devotees.

The tradition of taking the deities out of the temple to the teppakulam for the float festival on full moon day of the Tamil month of Thai is said to have originated in the days of King Tirumalai Nayak who ruled Madurai between 1623 and 1659. The birth star of the Nayak king, Poosam, also falls on this day. It is during this festival that the deities go to far off places such as Nelpettai, Chinthamani and Teppakulam. Except during the enactment of one of the divine sports, when they are taken to Puttu Thoppu, on all other festive occasions they are confined to the Adi, Chithirai, Avanimoola and Masi streets.

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