Athi Varadar festival begins, Governor, thousands of devotees offer prayers

As the idol of Lord Athi Varadar, brought out from the holy tank of Lord Varadarajaswamy temple in Kanchipuram after 40 years, was kept at the Vasantha Mandapam for darshan today, thousands of people thronged the place of worship to offer prayers.

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit was among the early 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 standing posture for the last eight days.

While pilgrims from across the country will be allowed to pay obeisance from 5 am to 5 pm, residents of the temple town will get an opportunity to have a glimpse of the Lord from 5 pm to 8 pm.

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department of the Tamil Nadu government has allotted Rs 29 crore for the celebrations and arrangements to be made for pilgrims. The event was last held from July 2, 1979 to August 17,1979 and before that, it was held in 1939.

Entry to the Vasantha Mandapam, where the Lord is kept, is through the east and west gopurams. People seeking free darshan and in ₹50 queue must go to the east end, while the west gopuram will be for VIPs and for those with ₹500 ticket for the Sahasranamam archana.

A total of 150 wheelchairs and around 10 battery-operated cars have been arranged. The police have installed two baggage scanners at the entrances and 2,600 police personnel will be on duty.