- The statue of Atti Varadaraj is taken out of the holy pond in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, once every 40 years for only 48 days
- The statue was taken out only twice in the last century in 1939 and 1979
- This statue of Lord Vishnu is in the form of Varadaraj and is made of fig wood
- In Kanchi, 90 lakh people visited the temple for a darshan of the idol in 48 days
Kanchipuram: Kanchipuram of Tamil Nadu is one of the seven oldest cities in the world. Although there are some 125 large temples in Kanchi, each with their own history, over 9 million devotees visited only one temple in Kanchipuram during the last 48 days.
Lord Atti Varadaraj graces his devotees once in 40 years: Since July 1, ninety lakh people have visited the city. Devotees are thronging the Atti Varadaraj Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram. The reason is also special. The idol of Sri Atti Varadaraj was taken out of the holy Anand Saras Sarovar after 40 years. It was like “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
Idol will now be taken out in 2059: The idol of Atti Varadaraj, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is taken out of the pond once every 40 years. It is kept in the temple for ‘darshan’ for 48 days. It is then kept again in the holy pond for the next 40 years. Now in 2059, this idol will be again taken out for 48 days. If you missed the chance to have a ‘darshan’ of this idol now, you will get the chance to have the ‘darshan’ in 2059!
Was taken out only twice during last century: On the night of 17 August, this statue was put back in the holy pond. In the last century, the idol was taken out only twice in 1939 and 1979.
This idol made of fig wood is 9 feet high. On June 28 this year, the idol was taken out by Vedpathi Pandits with the recitation of Vedic hymns. On an average, about 2 lakh people visited the temple daily to have a darshan of the idol.
Why does Atti Varadaraj live inside the lake for 40 years?: The Atti Varadaraj Perumal Temple is one of the major temples of Kanchi spread over an area of 23 acres. There are many stories about it from the Puranas to the Mughals. The oldest legend is associated with Lord Brahma.
PT Santhanam of Lakshminarayana Perumal Trust associated with Atti Varadaraj Temple told Bhaskar App that Kanchipuram is the land of Brahma Ji’s yajna. Brahmaji once came to this place to perform a yajna. The wife is required to be present while the yajna is performed, but at that time Lord Brahma’s wife Savitri was not present.
Brahma ji started the yajna with Gayatri: Then Brahma ji started the yajna with Gayatri. Savitri became angry when she learnt about this. She took the form of a river named Vegwati, which still flows in Kanchi. With her speed, she decided to submerge and destroy Kanchi, but in the meantime, Lord Vishnu came to save Kanchi.
Savitri realized her mistake: Vishnu stopped the river Vegwati with his body. God lay down like a wall on the ground to stop the river. Savitri realized her mistake. Her anger subsided. At the request of Brahma, Vishwakarma prepared the statue of Lord Vishnu with fig sticks. The name was Atti Varadaraja. Atti means fig wood, Varadaraja means one who gives all kinds of boons.
Vishnu asked priest to place the statue in holy Saras pond: The Yajna was completed, but the fire of the Yajna was so strong that Lord Vishnu could not bear it. In the dream, he instructed the temple priest to place the statue in the Saras pond of the temple itself and another statue should be made of stone for the sake of worship. The priest questioned how the original figwood statue would be available for darshan. Vishnu replied that it should be taken out for 48 days once every 40 years. This tradition has been continuing since then.
(Story by Nitin R Upadhyaya)