Teppotsavam, Tirupati Overview

Tirumala Tirupati Teppotsavam otherwise called as the float festival is one of the most popular boat festival held at the Krishna Temple at Tirupati. Falling every year in the month of Chaitra (March) according to the Hindu Calendar, the celebrations are held on a grand scale for five days. Amidst the chants hailing Lord Govinda, the Teppotsavam is a spectacular display of culture, religion, tradition and devotion of devotees.

Dates of Teppotsavam 2023
The festival takes place at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh and will be held from March 15 to March 20 2024.

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Rituals & Celebrations at Teppotsavam

Teppotsavam at Pushkarini
Teppotsavam at Pushkarini

On each day leading up to the grand finale, different floats are led to the Srivari Pushkarini, the divine tank. The idols of the deities are called Utsav Murtis, as they are specially designed to be brought outside the sanctum. The idols are carried around the temple complex through the mada streets, which lie just outside the main building. After circumambulating the tank, the Murtis are mounted on colourfully decorated floats and carried out to the middle of the tank to the Vasantha Mandapam. This Mandapam is a four-pillared structure built in the Pushkarini, where special prayers are held.

Teppotsavam decoation
Teppotsavam decoration

On Ekadasi, the first day, a decorated float bearing Lord Rama, his divine consort Lady Sita and Lord Lakshmana and Lord Hanuman are taken out to the tank. As the procession completes three rounds around the mada streets, onlookers are treated to soothing chants of the Holy Scriptures and majestic music from local musicians. 

Lord Rama Idol


On the second day – Dvadasi, another incarnation of Lord Vishnu – Lord Krishna and his consort Lady Rukmini, are taken out on a heavenly ride to the tank. As the invocations call on the Lords to bestow mercy and prosperity on the devotees, the sight is truly mesmerising to watch. After three rounds of the procession, the deities are taken to the pond. 
On Trayodashi, Chaturdashi and Pournami – the third, fourth and final day -, finely decked floats carrying the presiding deity of Tirumala – Sri Malayappa Swami and his consorts Lady Sridevi and Lady Bhudevi are brought to the Srivari Pushkarini amidst much fanfare. Three, five and seven rounds are taken out respectively on the third, fourth and fifth days of the Teppotsavam.

As the days progress, the deities are taken out on more rounds around the temple complex. On the final day, Pournami, the floats are taken out seven times, much to the joy of the devotees. As the full moon shines divinely on the spectators, special prayers and rituals are observed in the tank. Spectacularly decorated with lights, colours, fragrant flowers and streamers, the structures are indeed a sight to behold. Nadaswaram, a traditional wind instrument, lends divine music as priests recite holy mantras and pray for the wellbeing of humanity. You are bound to be enthralled by the fabulous display!

History of Teppotsavam Float Festival

Teppotsavam has been one of the earliest Hindu temple festivals, dating back to times when temple tanks were first constructed. In the late fifteenth century, King Narasimha Raju Udayar built the Mandapam in the middle of the Pushkarini, where the festival is held today. The celestial cruise marks another unique way of celebrating the many wonders of the deity.

How to reach Tirumala

Tirumala town is located in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh and is easily accessible by all modes of transport. The Tirumala hills, where the Venkateswara temple is located, is part of a seven-hill range that some devotees scale by foot as well. The Temple of Seven Hills is accessible by road, air and rail as well.

The nearest airport is located at Renigunta, which is about 15 kilometres away. This is a domestic airport which is connected to Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi. International visitors can catch connecting flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Bangalore.

The Tirupati Railway Station, located 25 kilometres away, is the nearest railway station to Tirumala. Major trains that ply on this route include the Tirupati Coimbatore Express, Seven Hills Express, Narayanadri Express, Tirupati Express, Narsapur Express, Vijayawada Express, Madras Express, Tirumala Express, Swarna Jayanti, Krishna Express and Gurudev Express. All major cities of India are connected to Tirupati.

Government buses connect Tirupati and other major cities of Andhra Pradesh to Tirumala. Buses ply between Tirumala and Tirupati every two minutes. Direct buses from Bangalore, Hyderabad and other cities are also present. Private taxis and vans can also be hired, although this is the most expensive option at hand.
Tirumala Temple
Tirupati Tirumala Temple

The Dress Code at Tirupati

The Tirupati temple is one of the most sacred Hindu sites in the world, and it is imperative that you respect the religious sentiments of the devotees while you are there. A dress code is strictly enforced by the temple management, and it is important that you abide by the rules of the Devasthanam. Light colours are preferred to dark, bright ones. Men are advised to wear dhotis or veshtis that are south Indian staples. You can also opt for kurta-pyjamas or long tunics. Avoid wearing shorts or capris. Jeans are also discouraged. Loose-fitting trousers and pants are allowed. Shirts and tees are also allowed but do not opt for gaudy prints. Men are not required to be shirtless within temple premises.

Women are advised to wear saris or long tunics. Kurtis is allowed as well. Chudidars, suits and shawls are also allowed. Women can opt for ankle-length skirts and blouses, or half-saris too. Sleeveless tops and knee-baring dresses are not allowed within the temple.

Dos and Don’ts at Tirupati

  • For the best views of the deity on the tank, be sure to take a spot on the steps of the holy tank beforehand, as the region gets very crowded as time passes. If you want to accompany the procession as it makes its way around the mada streets, you may not get a good view of the final ceremony. It is advisable to plan your trip around the five days in such a way that you can witness both the procession and the concluding prayers. It is recommended that you get a good spot at the tank steps especially on the last day – Pournami – as the ritual is a must-watch!
  • Make sure to follow the dress code, as violations are viewed seriously. The weather is warm, so dress accordingly.
  • Most of the events are held at the sacred premises, which means that you will have to be barefoot. Avoid littering, and watch where you step.
  • Dispose of waste responsibly, especially prasadam leftovers and other offerings.
  • Take care of your valuables, especially wallets, mobile phones and jewellery. It is advised to not wear flashy jewellery or carry large amounts of cash while on the trip.
  • Take care of your children and keep sight of them at all times, as the crowds are quite overwhelming. It is better to give your children an identity tag with your contact information on it, in case of emergencies.
  • Carry an empty utensil to take the offerings home, as temple packaging may leak or tear. Avoid wasting food and prasadam.
  • Remember to book accommodation at Tirumala well in advance, as pilgrim influx is maximum during Teppotsavam season.
  • Smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming non-vegetarian food are prohibited inside temple premises. Respect the religious sentiments of the pilgrims during your visit.
  • All bookings done online are to be done through the official website of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam website.
  • Be wary of fake sites and quacks who may cheat you.
  • Electronic devices are allowed only minimally inside the temple. Use your phone minimally, and enjoy the wholesome spiritual experience at Tirumala.

Things to Keep in Mind

This is one of the most crowded times of the year at Tirupati, drawing in millions of devotees to the region. If you are looking to attend the regular prayers and rituals, keep in mind that some of them may be cancelled on account of the Teppotsavam. In particular, the Sahasra Deepalankara Seva is cancelled on all five days while the Arjitha Brahmotsavam and Vasanthotsavam pujas are not held on the last three days of the Teppotsavam. The Pournami Garuda Vahana Seva to be held on the day of the full moon is also cancelled. Morning prayers are held as scheduled, and there are not many changes to note.
Tirumala Temple Gopuram
Tirumala Temple Gopuram

Teppotsavam Tickets

Day: INR 500
Arjitha Seva: INR 200

Devotees are expected to book the time of their darshan in advance, and online bookings on the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam website are preferred. You are expected to carry a proof of identity to the venue after booking your slot online. Bookings open 90 days before the commencement of the festival. You must assemble 40 minutes before the event begins, to verify credentials.

The Teppotsavam Seva is priced at INR 500 per person per day. Devotees are given offerings of silk garments, a blouse piece and prasadam as part of the Seva. The seva or prayer following the Teppotsavam is called Arjitha Seva. This includes prasadam too. The famed Tirupati laddu is lip-smackingly delicious! This sweet meat is made from ghee, sugar, raisins, cashews and gram flour, and is a must-have here!

Dates of Teppotsavam

The festival takes place at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh and will be held from March 15 to March 20 2023. The Teppotsavam is a five-day festival held in the Hindu month of Phalguna or Chaitra (depending on the date), which occurs in February-March. The days leading up to Phalguna Pournami (full moon day) are hailed as the Teppotsavam days. According to the lunar calendar, the five days are as follows: Ekadasi, Dvadasi, Trayodashi, Chaturdashi and Pournami. The dates in the Gregorian calendar vary every year. 

The processions are held in the evening, usually between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM. The hour-long event begins at the holy tank.

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