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What is the importance of Kanchipuram?
Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu state is the Temple-Town that finds mention in Sacred Seven Places of India. Kanchipuram is known as one of the ‘Moksha Sthalas’. Home to more than a thousand temples, this is truly a temple-town. Month of July 2019 is a special one for the Devotees of Varadharajaswamy of Kanchipuram. This is the special moment everyone has been waiting for forty years.
The nine-foot long wooden image of Atthi Varadar is being brought out from the Pushkarini (Sacred Pond) in the Sri Devaraja Swamy temple. Pushkarini is known by the name Anant Saras or Amrut Saras. Atthi Varadar will be on display for Darshan in the Vasanta Mandapam of the temple from 2nd of July till 17th of August this year. This is one of the 108 Divya Desams.
The temple authorities started the preparations for this special event as early as March of this year.
Legend of Atthi Varadar:
A legend surrounds the image of Atthi Varadar Swamy. During Satya Yuga, Goddess Saraswati got a thought and wanted it clarified by Lord Brahma. She wanted to know who was the most powerful between Saraswati and Lakshmi. Lord Brahma replied, saying it was Lakshmi who was the most powerful. This angered Saraswati and she deserted Brahma. In the course of time, when Lord Brahma wanted to perform Ashwamedha Yaga, Saraswati took the form of River Vegavati due to instigation from demons and tried to flood the region where the Ashwamedha Yaga was taking place. Lord Vishnu emerged from the sacred fire and prevented the river from flooding. To pay respects to Lord Vishnu, Brahma got four images done by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma using the fig tree known as Audumbara (Ficus Raecemosa). One of these is said to be the Atthi Varadar Swamy preserved in Kanchipuram.
Why is Atthi Varadar brought out once in every forty years?
There are several theories about the reason for storing the Atthi Varadar Swamy under water in the Pushkarini. During the 16th Century CE, the image was said to have been removed from the Punyakoti Vimana (the sanctum) and hidden in the pond on the temple premises. The location of the idol was known only to the family of priests who were offering worships at the temple. The location of the image was lost in the course of time. The image was discovered when the temple authorities dried out the pond in 1709. The image lay on the bed of pushkarini in a tub-like arrangement held by Nagapashams (A locking arrangement). A tradition was started at that time, to bring out the image once in every forty years for display and offering obeisance. The last two recorded occasions were in 1979 and 1939. The image will be treated with organic preservatives before returning it to the Pushkarini after the Mandala Puja of 48 days. The first 24 days Darshan of the image is in a reclining position and the remaining 24 days Darshan is in standing position.
Another reason cited is that, the wooden image suffered damages and hence regular worships cannot be offered. As a consequence, the tradition of bringing the image once in forty years. Generally fig-wood is said to gain strength in water and the forty long years of Jalavasam (storing under the water) is said to make the idol emit special vibes.
Who is Devaraja Swamy?
A stone image of Lord Vishnu known as Devaraja Swamy has been installed in the Punyakoti Vimana that was brought in from the region of Pazayaseevaram. This is said to have been a sculptural work of Sage Atri.
Why should one have Darshan of Atthi Varadar?
Darshan of Atthi Varadar is said to bestow Moksha (Salvation). A lucky person may be able to have three Darshans of Atthi Varadar, since Hindu Astrology is based on a full life of 120 years. In this period, one will have witnessed at least 1000 full moons.
It is said that, the year in which Atthi Varadar is brought out will witness a severe drought. After the Pujas for forty eight days, once the deity returns to the Pushkarini, the country is said to see all-round economic growth for the next twenty years.
When can I visit Atthi Varadar?
You can visit the temple in two time slots: From 6.00 am to 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm to 8.00pm every day. Devotees would be allowed through east Raja Gopuram of the temple and after darshan, exit through west Raja Gopuram.
Have Darshan of Atthi Varadar in Kanchipuram to receive his benevolence and grace. Save and share your memories for the coming years.
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