Introduction to Theppa Festival:

The Theppa festival, organized by Vandiyur Mariamman Theppakulam in honor of Thaipusam, is a significant event hosted by the temple. Theppakulam, the second largest in Tamil Nadu after Thiruvarur Kamalalaya clan, hosts this vibrant festival where the deity is placed on a raft and floated in the temple pond.

Historical Significance and Origins:

The tradition of Theppakulam dates back to the reign of King Thirumalai Nayakkar in Madurai, spanning over 400 years. This festival holds immense importance as it marks the occasion when the goddess Chokkanatha Priyavidide Meenakshi is believed to rise in the pond on her birth star, Thaipusam.

Rituals and Processions:

The Theppa festival features elaborate processions and rituals, with the deity being carried in a raft around the Neerazhi Mandapam in the middle of Theppakulam. Farewell and blessing ceremonies are held at specific times, including a procession in the morning and another in the afternoon, where devotees receive blessings from Meenakshi and Chokar.

Raft Preparation and Decoration:

The raft used in the festival is meticulously crafted, typically made by connecting empty barrels in a row and tying bamboo and trees on them. Decorative objects and pictographs adorn the raft, creating a visually stunning spectacle, especially illuminated by colorful lights during nighttime festivities.

Significance of the Ceremony:

The Theppa festival symbolizes the divine mercy of God, likened to a boat that rescues those who have fallen into the sea. Through this ceremony, devotees are reminded of the benevolence and guiding presence of the divine, guiding them safely to the shore of salvation.
By structuring the content with headings, each section becomes distinct, providing readers with a clear understanding of the significance and rituals associated with the Theppa festival at Vandiyur Mariamman Theppakulam.