48-day Aththi Varadhar festival in Kancheepuram to begin on July 1

At least 20 lakh devotees are expected to visit Kancheepuram in July when the idol of Sri Aththi Varadhar will be kept for darshan for 48 days inside Sri Varadharajaperumal temple.

The festival happens once in 40 years. The idol made of fig wood is brought out from a vault inside Anantha Saras, the temple tank. The last time it happened was in July 1979.

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) and Kancheepuram district administration have begun making arrangements for the special event that will begin on July 1.

The idol would be brought out during the early hours to avoid crowds.

“We are estimating over one lakh persons on important days. The idol would be kept inside the Vasantha Mandapam in reclining and standing postures during 48 days when devotees would be allowed to have darshan,” said a senior official of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, who took part in a meeting at Kancheepuram on Saturday.

Kancheepuram Collector P. Ponniah warned that collection of donations of any kind must not be taken up by any organisation in the name of the festival.

Special arrangements

Special arrangements would be made for devotees including barricades, shade for those waiting for darshan, drinking water and sanitation, regulation of annadanams, security arrangements and provision of additional parking lots during the 48 days.

The legend

The 2.5 m tall idol is said to be an exact replica of the moolavar idol in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. It is said to be the original presiding deity of the temple that was worshipped several centuries ago. It was removed and concealed fearing foreign invasion, according to a source in the HRCE Department.

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