One of the oldest cities of the country, Madurai is popularly known as the Temple Town of India. The history of Madurai dates back to the Sangam Period. Madurai has been ruled by many dynasties and undergone many social, cultural and political changes which has resulted in a fusion of varied traditions. The diversity that Madurai offers is evident in the rich cultural heritage.
From the rule of the Vijayanagar Dynasty to the British rule, Madurai has gone through a series of variety. After Independence, Madurai has proved a position for itself. A tourist’s paradise, Madurai offers magnificent temples, extraordinary architecture and vivacious fairs and festivals. One of the most popular festivals of Madurai is the Float Festival of India, Madurai.
Madurai also known as the City of Festivals is home to the colorful Float Festival which is locally known as Teppothsavam. Originated by King Thirumala Nayaka in the 17th century, the Float Festival of India, Madurai is celebrated by the people of the region with great enthusiasm.
It is believed that the king built a new palatial mansion. For the building of the palace bricks were needed for which a large portion of the land was dug up. Later this excavated site was made into a lake. An artificial lake in the middle of the lake was built. A temple built on the island was dedicated to Lord Ganesha. A ritual arose where idols of deities were taken on a boat ride.
The Float Festival of India, Madurai involves the carrying of Goddess Meenakshi and her consort, Lord Sundareshwarar in a procession to the lake where they are taken on a boat ride.
Early morning, the deities are carried in golden palanquins and escorted by elephants and musicians. On the banks of the lake the devotees worship the deities.
The devotees hold the two ends of the rope that help the idols to float. After a couple of rounds of the lake, the idols are taken to the temple on the island. The island is lit with lamps and decorated with colorful lanterns and flowers.
Time to celebrate
Float Festival of India, Madurai is celebrated in January every year.