A ship or a boat is a contraption that can float and move on the ocean, a river, or any waterbody, either through its own power or using power from the elements (wind, waves, or Sun). Plain steel would sink in water immediately, as would a wrecked steel ship !
The reason that a ship floats is that it displaces a lot of water. The displaced water keeps pushing the ship upwards – this force is called the buoyancy force. The more water that is displaced, the stronger the buoyancy force is which pushes the object up. Any object dipped into water experiences two forces: the gravity force which pulls it down due to its weight, and the buoyancy force which pushes it up. If these forces are equal, then the object floats.
In the divyadesam of Thiruvallikkeni, the tamil month of Masi has special significance. On the Full moon [Pournami day and Magam Nakshathiram] Sri Parthasarathi Swami visits the shores of Marina, famously known as Masi Magam. Perhaps this is the time that signifies the onset of summer and it is time for cooling the Lord. On Masi New moon [Amavasyai] starts the float festival at Thiruvallikkeni. The tank of Sri Parthasarathi Swami is famous ~ it is ‘Kairavini Pushkarini’… the pond of Lily – ‘allikkeni’ from which the place itself derives its name (~ and my blog is titled Kairavini Karaiyinile literally meaning on the banks of holy Kairavini, the temple tank). The tank has added significance attributed to the birth of “Yathi Rajar” – Swami Ramanujar due to the penance undertaken by Kesava Somayaji and Kanthimathi ammal. Pushkarinis were developed closely associated with temples. The water from the tank was once used daily for thirumanjanam and all other religious functions of the Lord. The conclusion of Brahmotsavam would be by ‘thirthavaari’ the sacred bath at the tank.
Every year there is the ‘theppam’ – the float festival. A floating structure gets spruced up, made of drums, timber and ornated beautifully. Perumal would come to the temple tank in purappadu and placed majestically inside the float. The beautifully lit theppam is dragged around in water. Devotees in hundreds converge, sit everywhere on the steps of the temple tank to have darshan of the Lord on theppam. In olden days, the shops springing up for the occasion were of added attraction.
The annual float festival of the Sri Parthasarathy Swamy temple starts every year on Maasi Ammavasai day and is a 7 day affair. In my young days, the tank was much bigger and would brim with water – so the size of the float also used to be much bigger. Now a days, the float is much smaller in size, the grandeur of the festival has only increased though.
This year the Theppa Utsavam began today on 8th March 2016 and here are some photos taken during the Theppam.