Placed at a distance of around 2 km from the very well-known Meenakshi Amman Temple, Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is the sacred pond that is close to the Vandiyur Mariamman Temple. This pond is put into use at the time of devotional fairs and festivals.
This tank gets it water from River Vaigai because of a creative system of underground channels. 12 granite steps on all the four sides connect the pond to the temple, which were commissioned by one of Madurai’s Nayaka Rulers, King Thirumalai Nayak. Right in the middle of the pond is a Maiya Mandapam or Central Mandapm that has the Vinayakar temple and garden, dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
At the time of the construction of Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, King Thirumalai Naicker excavated the soil from an area for the fabrication of the bricks of the palace. This lead to the creation of a pit where the present-day tank, 290 m in width and 305 m in length is seen. Biggest tank in Tamil Nadu state, Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam was formed in 1645 AD. History states that the idol of Mukuruny Vinayakar in Meenakshi Amman Temple was found at the time of the excavation.
Celebrations around the Pond
In the month of January-February, Mariamman Teppakulam every year becomes the venue of the popular Float festival, celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai. The festival is organized on a full moon night, called Thaipusam. On this occasion, the temple is lit-up very well and its glittering shadow makes the pond shine equally well. The idols of the main deities of Meenakshi Amman Temple, Lord Sundareshwarar and Goddess Meenakshi are brought here and are made to float on the serene waters of the pond, a sight to behold. This festival is attended by devotees from all around South India to worship their deities.