The temple town of Kancheepuram is gearing up to receive lakhs of devotees hoping for a rare ‘darshan’ of the Aththi Varadar deity after a long gap of 40 years at the Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple. The 12-foot idol of Aththi Vardar which is made out of fig tree is lying in a silver casket underwater in the temple tank for the past 40 years and was taken out on Friday early morning amidst chants of ‘Varadha Varadha’ by devotees. Darshan will be allowed for 48 days from July 1 to August 17 at the temple.
The idol will be kept in a reclining position for the first 40 days of the darshan and in a standing posture for the last eight days. The last time the idol was taken out in 1979 and earlier in 1939. It is said that a person can have darshan of Aththi Varadar once or twice in his/her lifetime. The idol was the main deity of the temple during the 16th century until it was immersed in the temple tank to protect it from being plundered by invaders.
Later, since the temple authorities could not trace the original idol, poojas resumed with a stone idol in place of the fig tree idol. In 1709 the idol was found in the bed of the temple tank when it was being cleaned. It was then decided that the idol will be taken out once every 40 years and worshipped for 48 days. The temple authorities expect to receive 3,000-5,000 devotees this year from July 1-August 17. The bus stands and car lots have been built outside the town.