Kanchipuram: After Lord Athi Varadar was kept inside Ananta Saras temple tank late last night as the 48-day-long festival in Kanchipuram Sri Devarajaswamy temple came to close, the temple town has been witnessing rains and the thirukulam is fast filling up.
Also water from Pottramarai Kulam, another tank inside the temple, is being let inside Anata Saras. Meanwhile, the doors for darshan of the presiding deity of the temple, Lord Varadaraja Perumal, was opened this morning and devotees made a beeline.
Amid religious fervour, the idol of Lord Athi Varadar was kept inside the temple tank. The once-in-40-year event drew over one crore devotees since 1 July.
After completion of special rituals and applying of traditional herbal paste, the life-size idol was brought to Ananta Saras tank by the priests and immersed into a special underground chamber to the chanting of Vedic hymns. The return of the deity to its permanent underwater abode marked the culmination of the 48-day-long festival.
On Saturday evening, the processional idol of Lord Varadaraja was brought to the Vasantha Mandapam, where Lord Athi Varadar had been kept for public darshan and special poojas were performed. The event had commenced with the centuries-old idol of Athivaradar being taken out of the tank last month.
From 1 July to 31 July, the idol was in sayana kolam (lying down posture) and from 1 August in nindra kolam (standing). On 17 August, there was no public darshan. The festival witnessed a daily rush of over one lakh devotees with the crowd exceeding three lakhs on several days, especially on weekends.
According to Chief Minister K Palaniswami, more than one crore devotees offered prayers to the deity during the festival. President Ram Nath Kovind, Tamilnadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Palaniswami, former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekara Rao, actor Rajinikanth were among those who offered their prayers to the idol during the festival.
Attempts were made in the Madras High Court to seek extension of the festival period beyond the 48 days, but the court dismissed the petitions after the State government said it cannot be done. The last time the festival was held in 1979 and the next would be in 2059.
Photos: D SUNDAR