Did you know that it is very vital for all temples to have their own ponds? Okay I do not plan on questioning you. Temples in themselves are usually very calm and tranquil. But this one particular temple and its pond had me captured in the moment. Apparently, a Teppakulam is a temple pond used mainly for all devotional festivals.
The Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is connected to the Vaigai River through underground channels. The Pond has 12 long granite steps on all four sides. The King Thirumalai Nayakkar built the pond as well as the temple with a tank in the centre called the Maiya Mandapam. This is the Central Mandap and has a Vinayak Temple along with a Garden. The idol of Lord Mukkuruny Vinayakar in the temple was found during the excavation of the pond.
As I stand here with my camera, I can only imagine the purity and divinity of the water and the pure prowess of the Gods themselves.
The Significance of the Teppakulam
The Mariamman Theppakulam is a very famous one and is very well known for its Float festival, which takes place in the Tamil month Thai, between January 14 and February 15th. The speciality of the event is that it takes place on a full moon night, better known as Thaipoosam when the pristine water becomes colorful with the colorful lights that decorate the temple.
The Theppakulam is located a mere 2 kilometers away from the Meenakshi Amman Temple. During the festival, the Goddess Meenakshi with her consort Lord Sundareshwarar are brought down to the theppakulam on colorful floats. It is said to be a very mesmerizing sight and attracts tourists and pilgrims world over to participate and revel in the festival.
I was told by the locals, that the King Thirumalai Nayakkar had excavated the soil in these lands to assemble the bricks to establish his palace. The pit formed from the excavation is what stands today as the Tank. Measuring approximately 290 meters wide and 305 meters in length, it is nearly as large as the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. In fact, this pond, which was built in the 1645 AD, is the biggest tank ever in the state of Tamil Nadu.