[View of the Teppakulam outside Madurai.]
Photographer: Wiele and Klein
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Teppakulam, Madurai probably taken by Wiele & Klein in the 1890s. The photograph is from an album containing views of various locations in India, formerly in the collection of Horatio Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, (1850-1916), who was Commander in Chief of India between 1902 and 1909.
The temple city of Madurai is dominated by the Minakshi Sundareshvara complex, one of the major architectural achievements of the Nayaka period. The construction of the temple was made possible by the patronage of Tirumala Nayak (1623-1659) as was this tank. The large rectangular Teppakulam tank is dedicated to Minakshi (Parvati) and the god Sundareshvara (Shiva). In the middle of the reservoir on a square island is a small white-washed towered temple. The tank is used for ritual ablutions and is also the site of an annual festival in which images of Minakshi and Sundareshvara are placed in a raft lit by oil-lamps and floated on the water.