Friday, June 6, 2014
In the month of Thai (Jan-Feb), the Kapaleeswarar temple gets decked up for the theppam (float) festival. Spread over three days, the festival sees the main deities being taken around the temple tank in a float that is constructed to resemble a temple sanctum and is decorated with colours and bright lights. The float holds about 30-50 people, including the priests who perform the pujas and recite the thevarams and the vedas.
On the first day, it is the duo of Kapaleeswarar and Karpagambal who are taken around the tank. The float goes around five times on the first day. No motors, or propulsion systems; devotees walking along the sides of the tank pull the theppam. It is a privilege and there are more than enough people waiting for their turn to help. On the second day and third day, it is Singaravelar who is taken around, seven times on day two and nine times on the final day. The last day coincides with the full moon day of Thai, which was the day when Murugan received the vel (spear) from his mother Parvathi, giving him the name Singaravelar.
The temple and its environs are also brightly lit. Thai is festival time, kicking off with Pongal and going on to several others. The next time you get a chance, get to the temple for this festival. Mylapore goes into an orbit of its own; the city seems so far away!