For the last few weeks, in Chennai and in the whole of Tamil Nadu, in news, social media and TV the talk has been about Sri Athi Varadhar. The idol of the God Sri Athi Varadar (Incarnation of Lord Vishnu) is made out of fig tree and kept in his reclining posture under water in the temple tank of the famous Kanchipuram Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple.
The deity is brought out for worship once in 40 years and that festival is happening from 1st July till mid of August 2019. Every day, hundreds of thousands of devotees are coming to seek the blessings of the Lord, standing in queue for 2 to 6 hours, for what may be for many, once in a lifetime opportunity.
Kanchipuram is situated 70 kilometres from Chennai, reaching there by road will take about 90-120 minutes depending on the time of the day. Kanchipuram is a temple town, it has many famous temples like the Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple, and the Kanchi Kailsanathar Temple (Picture Gallery). In my childhood days, my father used to take us there before any important event was coming up in the family. I used to love going to the temple – On the way to the main deity, on the inside ceiling of the temple, there will be two lizards embossed and you need to climb a ladder up to touch and pray to them, which fascinated the younger me. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to visit the temple for over a decade.காஞ்சி திரு அத்தி வரதர் – I had the blessings of the Lord to have his darshan today. It was wonderful. We started from Chennai around 4:15 PM to reach Kanchi around 6:00 PM, travelling by the SH48 Highway, that is reached by taking a right in the circle near Perungalathur, going through Padapai, the industrial area of Oragadam, Walajapet, then a right to go to Kanchipuram. All vehicles were stopped at the Pachaiyappas College, from there it was about 10 minutes to reach the temple area.
The queues were stopped for nearly 90-120 minutes for clearing the crowd inside in the compound in preparation for the visit by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Thiru E.P.S. It took a few hours after that for us to have our darshan. I was told, the crowd was lesser in the morning and afternoon today (Tuesday 23rd July 2019) compared to previous days.
While returning from Kancheepuram, we stopped at Nivedhanam Restaurant in Padapai for our late-night dinner. The hotel manager was courteous to prepare food for us even though we had arrived after their closing time – thank you!