Chennai: The 48-day Athi Varadar vaibhavam ends today for the public and the idol of the Almighty will be placed in Ananta Saras tank tomorrow in the Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple. Athi Varadar will emerge from the temple tank only after 40 years, that is, in 2059.
On the last day of the public darshan today – there will be darshan for the public tomorrow – over six lakh devotees thronged Kanchipuram, sources said.
The deity was decked up in a mustard silk robe with a stunning pink border. Apart from rose and jasmine garlands, there were also shenbagam garlands adorning the idol of Athi Varadar.
From 1 July, Lord Athi Varadar was kept for darshan at Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram. It included 31 days of sayana thirukolam and 17 days of ninra thirukolam. In the 47 days, more than one crore devotees offered prayers.
Today is the last day of darshan. Devotees have made a beeline to Kanchi and there are queues for up to 5 km.
According to pundits, Athi Varadar was carved out of the athi tree by Vishwakarma in Kritha Yuga. It was the presiding deity in the temple until 16th century. When Muslims invaded the south, the idol of Athi Varadar was reportedly put inside the temple tank to save it from the invaders.
After several years, efforts were made to trace Athi Varadar. When all efforts failed, the priests made a stone idol of Athi Varadar and, thereafter, resumed regular pooja. However, when the temple tank was emptied for another reason after a gap of 40 years, they found Athi Varadar inside. They decided that this idol has to be taken out every 40 years for pooja for 48 days and again immersed in the temple tank for another 40 years.
VVIPs like Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Tamilnadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, Rajinikanth, former PM Deve Gowda, Telangana CM Chandrashekar Rao and actresses Trisha and Nayanthara among others offered prayers.
The darshan ends tonight and Athi Varadar will be kept in the temple tank Saturday.
In the 47 days, over 12,000 police personnel maintained vigil and 1,200 sanitary workers were employed.
Photos / video: D Sundar