Disappointment in waiting for the second successive year

The famous float festival of Madurai, one of the important events associated with Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, is scheduled for January 16. But the 22-acre Mariamman Teppakulam has gone dry and it is feared that the float that carries the deities will remain static in the middle of the huge tank for the second consecutive year.

‘Teppa Tiruvizha,’ which is celebrated on the full moon day in the Tamil month of ‘Thai,’ finds a prominent place in Madurai’s festival calendar. The temple tank’s history goes back to the days of King Tirumalai Nayak.

P. Jayaraman, Joint Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, and Executive Officer of Meenakshi temple, told The Hindu on Friday that the dwindling water level in the Vaigai dam has dashed any hope of pumping the river water into the Teppakulam. “Definitely it is a disappointment but there is no other alternative at this stage to draw water,” he said.

In the previous year also water woes haunted the temple tank and even though authorities tried to pump in water, it evaporated in no time.

M. Arunagiri, former Principal, Thiagarajar College, said in normal circumstances a full tank on a full moon day was a delight to watch, what with the deities floating around the Teppakulam. “In fact, a lot of foreign tourists come to watch the festival which commemorates King Tirumalai Nayak’s birth anniversary,” he said.

K. Murugavel of Anuppanadi and S. Krishnan of Chinthamani blame the authorities for failing to take steps in advance to fill the tank with water.

“Still there is a chance to get water from Manalur,” said Mr. Murugavel, who is involved in taking the float around the central mandapam of the tank along with other Devendra Kula Velalar youth.

Deficient rainfall and depleted storage in the Vaigai dam have dashed the hopes of a float festival in Teppakulam filled with water. However, other rituals associated with the festival will continue as usual.

While the tank bed has turned into a cricket ground, one can only hope that there will be sufficient water for the next festival.

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