Float Festival is celebrated in Madurai
, Tamil Nadu
. The specialty of this is the icons of God Sundaresa and the Goddess Meenakshi
are taken out in a procession from the Meenakshi temple. This festival is said to have originated in the 17th century, and is celebrated in January, the year beginning with the Pongal festival
The legend connected with the festival is very interesting. A 17th century king of Madurai, Thirumala Nayaka, made a new palace. For this he excavated the land to make bricks. Later the excavated land was converted into a sixteen acre lake and a temple of Ganesh was built in the artificial island in the middle. Then, the tradition of taking out the idols for boat ride on the waters of the lake on his birthday was started.
Now the deities are carried out in palanquins, hundreds of devotees pull the ropes by which the float is drawn. Thousands of people visit Theppakkulam (the place where the festival is celebrated) to see the fireworks.