After 50 days, Lord Varadar to return to temple tank

Arrangements being made on Friday inside the tank of the famous Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram to place Athi Varadar idol inside the tank on Saturday evening. Photo Credit: A Murugan\DH Photo

Lord Athi Varadar, the 10-foot long idol made out of fig tree, will be sent back to its abode inside the Ananthasaras tank of the famed Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple on Saturday evening, after having attracted more than 1 crore pilgrims in 50 days.

Athi Varadar rises from the tank only once in forty years and the idol will next be taken out of the vault inside the sprawling temple tank only in 2059. Darshan of Athi Varadar, that began on July 1, ended late on Friday night and the idol will be placed inside the tank on Saturday evening after day-long rituals.

The temple town wore a festive look over the past 50 days as nearly 1 crore people descended to have a glimpse of Athi Varadar. The idol was kept in a reclining position for the first 40 days of the darshan (from July 1 to August 9) and upright for the last 16 days (from August 1 to August 16).

The idol, which has a close semblance to the presiding deity of the Varadaraja Perumal temple, was put inside the sprawling temple tank during the 16th century to preserve it from invaders. Before the 16th century, Athi Varadar was reportedly the presiding deity of the temple.

On the last day of darshan on Friday, nearly a lakh people turned up to offer prayers at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple. District administration officials said more than one crore people have turned up in 50 days, which is higher than the crowd that the famed Lord Sri Venkateshwara Temple in Tirupati attracts during the same period.

They also said arrangements are being made on a war-footing to clean the tank to ensure that the idol is placed box according to well-established traditions. Though there were demands to extend the darshan beyond 48 days, the temple administration and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department rejected them, citing agama rules.

The event was last held from July 2, 1979 to August 17, 1979 and before that, it was held in 1939. The once-in-40-years event attracted maximum crowds since it is one of the most important events at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram and a person can witness the celebrations only once or twice in his lifetime.

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