Varadaraja Perumal Temple KanchipuramThe death of four people in a stampede on July 18 put the Athi Varadar festival in Tamil Nadu in the spotlight last month.

Following rumours that authorities were planning to cut short the darshan timings, people standing in queues became impatient and started to push in a bid to move forward. This led to a stampede resulting in the death of four people.

According to the officials, around 1.7 lakh devotees gathered at the temple to pay obeisance to the deity when the stampede occurred. The idol of Lord Athivarda Swamy is brought out of the shrine’s pond every fourty years for darshan. `

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that more than anticipated footfall led to the stampede. He announced Rs one lakh compensation to the family of the deceased.

President Ramnath Kovind and Governor Banwarilal Purohit also attended the Athi Varadar festival last month.

Athivaradarajaswamy festival

The 48 days Athivaradar fest is celebrated once in every 40 years at the famous Lord Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. This year the festival is being held from July 1 August 17. In the past, the Athivaradar festival was held on 18/8/1854, 13/6/1892, 12/7/1937, 2/7/1979.

The idol made of fig wood was brought out from a silver vault inside Anantha Saras, the temple park on June 28. The last time it happened was in July 1979. For the first 24 days, Lord Vardhar would offer darshan in reclining posture and the next 24 days in standing posture.

As per legends, during the divine Yagya, Lord Vishwakarma made a statue of Srivaradaraja Swamy with the fig tree as ordered by Lord Brahma. The Swami has been worshiped for hundreds of years.

However, during the invasion of the Mohammedans in the 16th century, the Srivaradarajaswamy temple was looted. In order to avoid any harm to the image of Srivari, it was placed in a silver vault inside Anantha Saras, the temple tank. Thereafter it was brought out every forty years for worship.

This festival goes on for 48 days thereafter the idol is returned to its resting place in the temple tank, Anantha Saras.

Source: UNI and Hindustan Times