A popular place to see in Madurai, Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is associated with the Vandiyur Mariamman Temple. A temple pond complex with a man-made island in the middle, it is primarily used for religious purposes. Located only 2 km from the famous Meenakshi Sundareswara Temple, it also attracts hordes of devotees. Considered as one of the largest temple tanks not only in Tamil Nadu but in South India, this temple tanks receives its water from the River Vaigai.
Built in 1645 AD during the rule of Thirumalai Nayak, this temple pond is surrounded by granite steps on all the four sides while in the middle a Vigneshwara Temple is located, which is dedicated to Lord Vinayaka/ Lord Ganesha. These long stairs around the pond along with the temple were built by King Thirumalai Nayak.
There is a legend behind Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam. According to the legend, to build Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal sand was dug out of this tank to get the soil for creating bricks. Owing to this the palace is considered to be a blessed one. During the digging process, an idol of Lord Ganesh was unearthed. The same idol has been enshrined in the temple. This area was later turned into Teppakulam, which is connected to River Vaigai through underground channels.
This place gain a livelier aura filled with spirituality during the month of January or February when the temple festival, Teppoothsavam / float festival is celebrated. This festival is said to have been celebrated since the reign of King Thirumalai Nayak. This festival is organized to celebrate the birthday of King Thirumalai Nayak. During the festival the temple is lit with thousands of lamps. It is celebrated on a full moon night. The site of this beautiful temple glittering with lights, reflection of lights on the water with deities arriving at the tank to participate in the festival is incomparable. Idols of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar are also brought here during the festival. Devotees from all across the country come for a Madurai tour during this time to witness this mesmerizing scene here.
Reaching Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam, Madurai
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam enjoys a good location and is accessible from every corner of the town. It is located around 5 km away from the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. Tourists can either hire a cab, or take a bus or auto rickshaw to reach this shrine.