The Teppakkulam or Raft Festival, Madras
Artist: Gantz, Justinian (1802-1862)
Water-colour by Justinian Gantz, The Teppakkulam or Raft Festival, Madras, 1841. Inscribed on front in ink: 'Teppel Colum, or Tank-feast. Just Gantz. Popham's Broadway. No.35. Madras, 1841.' The Tamil word 'Teppam or Teppal' means 'raft', and 'kulam' is the 'pool' in which the deity floats on the festival day.
This type of festival is also still celebrated at the Teppakulam of Madurai, one of the biggest temple tanks in South India. The building of this rectangular reservoir was initiated in 1636 by Tirumala Nayak (1623-60). At the centre of the island there is a sixteen-columned pavilion with a pyramidal tower. During the festival that takes place on the anniversary of the ruler's birthday in January/February, the idols of Minakshi and Sundareshvara are floated on illuminated barges, prior to their wedding ceremony.