Chithirai festival is one of the magnificent and colourful festival at Madurai as an iconic jewel for the city. It is the celebration of celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi and Sundareshwarar. Chithirai is the first month of Tamizh Calendar as between April and May. This is a historical celebration as the whole city will be in festive mood in heart core of the city, the Meenakshi Amman Temple.
This is the welcome ceremony for the god Azhagar – brother of Meenakshi who comes Madurai for the wedding. This happens in Thallakulam Perumal Temple on full moon day, the whole night city do not sleeps as all the people and devotes welcome god Azhagar by doing rituals and ceremony.
Azhagar reaches the Vaigai River in a golden horse after the sacred marriage was over. This is a historical event as god Azhagar returns to Azhagar temple once delivering the gifts which he brought to her sister wedding. This event will be processed in a Mandapam at middle of Vaigai River.
Next day Azhagar appears for devotees in various palanquin such as Sesha Vahanam (Sneck) in Morning, Garuda Vahanam (eagle) in the afternoon, Moksha for Manduga Maharishi – and proceed for Dasavathara Katchi 10 incarnations at Ramarayar Mandapam in Night.
Early morning, the Dasavathram ends with Mohanaavatharam as azhgar decorated like a gorgeous lady and the same Night Kallazhagar Thirukollam in Pushpa Pallakku – decorated with blossoming flowers Palanquin at Mysore Mandapam at Thallakulam
Float Festival (Theppa Thiruvizha)
This festival is celebrated with great fun every year, during January- February. On this day, the Meenakshi temple remains closed for the full day, until evening. Early in the morning from the temple, the idols of lord Sundareshwarar & goddess Meenakshi are taken in a procession to Mari amman tank.
The festival’s origin dates back to 17th century, when King Thirumalai Nayak took the divine idols of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwarar for a boat ride around the lake on his birthday.