We were blessed to be precipitously present during the final day of the Teppam (float) festival at the Tirupati Balaji temple, and we had the best seats in the house thanks to Vijaya Naidu, our local host.
Float Festival is annually held at the Tirupati Balaji temple. The processional deity of Sri Venkateswara in various guises seated on a boat, takes a ride in the holy waters of Swami Pushkarini for five days. Also known as ‘‘Teppotsavam’, it is one of the important annual festivals celebrated in Tirumala Balaji Temple.
It is celebrated for five consecutive days in the evenings at around 6 pm with religious fervor. The processional deities are taken in a boat (Teppam), in the temple tank, together with chanting of hymns and the playing of nadaswarams. On the first day, the processional deity in the form of Sri Rama takes the boat ride along with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman. On the second day, Lord as Sri Krishna takes ride along with Goddess Rukmini. On the last three days, Sri Malayappa Swami (Balaji) flanked by his two consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi move in the sacred waters of the Temple Lake.
The festival is an overwhelming first hand experience of devotion, faith and what it can do to bind people. Ejji said he felt as if he was at the tower of Babel. We could almost hear every single language spoken in India as we stood among the throngs. Mahesh and I couldn’t help but point out, in India, you don’t have to be a believer to feel the devotion!