Chennai-based octogenarian hopes to see Athi Varadar for third time

N R Pankajam

Chennai: If Varadar wills it, I will have his darshan for a third time in my life, devoutly says N R Pankajam,a resident of Kodambakkam in Chennai. If she did, she will be among the few hundreds lucky to witness the beauty of Athi Varadar in Kanchipuram for a third time.

The idol of Athi Varadar, which has been brought out of the Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple tank after 40 years, as is the custom, is now placed in the Vasantha Mandapam of the temple for public darshan.

“I must have been 2 years old when my mother carried me to Kanchipuram to see Athi Varadar for the first time,” recalls 84-year-old Pankajam. My sister Padma, who was a couple of years older, but now no more, was also blessed at that young age to have His darshan, she recalls.

As is only natural, she does not remember anything about the first visit. It was her mother who used to tell her that she had taken her to see Athi Varadar and that is how she remembers it.

Her father’s family belonged to a small village near Kanchipuram and that was their connect with the temple town.

After her marriage at the age of 16, Pankajam moved to Pavalakara Street in Chennai. Her second chance to have Varadar darshan came in 1979.

“We went towards the end of the vaibhavam and there was hardly any crowd. We had a blissful darshan at the time,” says Pankajam who is devoted to Lord Guruvayoorappan.

But the Athi Varadar idol that is now placed in the Vasantha Mandapam is also tugging at the heartstrings of this sprightly senior citizen. Though there are relations still in the village near Kanchipuram who invite her to have the darshan, Pankajam firmly believes that she would be able to go there only by the grace of Lord Varadar.

If she did, she would be thrice blessed with the darshan.

R Chitra