Float festival of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple organised as ‘Nilai Teppam’ for second consecutive year

For the second consecutive year, the float festival of the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple was organised as a ‘Nilai Teppam’ festival in the dry ‘Teppakulam’ near the Mariamman Temple here, on Thursday.

With scarce rainfall and dwindling water level in the Vaigai dam, the temple administration had to resort to a static float festival.

A few devotees, however, voiced their disappointment over the ‘Nilai Teppam.’

The dry float festival held last year was the first dry festival to have taken place in the last five decades.

“I’ve always eagerly looked forward to the ‘Teppam’ festival each year and would come all the way to witness the beautiful float being taken around the tank,” recalled S. Valliammai, a resident of Othakadai.

This, however, did not deter the spirit of the public who thronged in large numbers to catch a glimpse of the intricately decorated, static float. The float, which was decorated with flowers and lit with colourful lights, held the deities of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar.

The deities were earlier mounted on palanquins and taken to the tank early in the morning from the temple. The temple remained shut for the rest of the day since the main deities had been taken out.

Devotees were let in through fixed entry points where they queued up to see the float.

Lamps lit

The tank and the central ‘mandapam’ were brightly illuminated and as darkness fell many women devotees lit lamps around the tank.

Traffic restrictions were imposed on the roads around the tank and food stalls, joy rides and vendors selling toys filled the streets to attract the public.

A large passé of policemen and women had been deployed to control the crowd.

A police outpost was set up and temporary watchtowers erected all around the tank.

A constant flow of safety instructions for the devotees was over the loudspeakers. The deities returned to the temple in the night after the festival.

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