Popularly known as Float Festival, it is traditionally known as Theppotsav which is a Hindu religious festival, celebrated in most parts of South India. It is mainly celebrated in the Madurai city of Tamil Nadu state. Madurai is one of the oldest cities with the same old authenticity and culture trends. The city celebrates this Float festival from the 17th century when people started to worship the deities by taking them on the boat ride in the artificial lake made near an ancient temple. The ritual then includes taking the deities in golden palanquins on an early morning along with elephants and musicians bidding them goodbye. The festival starts in the month of January and runs for one month. In 2020, it is decided to be held from 15th January to 15th February.
The Float Festival was originated by King Thirumala Nayaka during the 17th century. It is believed that the king had built a new palatial mansion. During the construction, a large area of land was dug up in order to brick-making. Later, the king commissioned the construction of Lake over the area of 5 kilometres. The water was fed from Vaigai River. The lake is named as Teppakulam lake which is situated in the east of the Meenakshi Temple.
Ritual of the festival. During the dawn, there is a procession of the idols of Goddess Meenakshi along with Lord Sundareshwar which starts from the main temple. These deities are then taken to the tank in the palanquins which are golden in shade. After which they are placed in a mandapam on the banks of the Teppakulam lake. And it is here that the devotees worship the God and Goddess. And after this, the idols are again carried in palanquins on a structure which more or less resembles rafts. This raft-like structure is quite colourfully decorated with varieties of the flower garlands, paper lanterns etc.
The evening Charm. The whole month, Teppakulam Lake looks happening and mesmerising. Around thousands of people come here to experience such extravaganza. During the evening, the lake looks more enchanting. Decorated with fairy lights and oil lamp, the dusky evening starts blushing. The reflection of lights and lamps in the lake water, look extremely attractive.
By Air. The nearest airport is Madurai Airport which is just 10 kilometres away from the city centre. The airport is well-connected to major cities such as Chennai, Trichy, Bengaluru and Coimbatore.
By Train. There are direct trains which are available from the major cities of India. It takes around seven hours to reach Madurai. The fastest train on the route is the Vaigai Express.
By Road. The overall connectivity via road network is quite good. So, if you are looking to travel via road then it would be quite a convenient experience for you.
15 Jan - 15 Feb 2020
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