Who is Athi Varadar and how to visit him?


Athi Varadar Temple in Kancheepuram is a most spoken pilgrim place in Tamil Nadu recently. Athi Varadar is an idol taken out of the temple's pond after 40 years and placed in the temple for darshan for 48 days. Since it happens once in every 4 decades, pilgrims from various places get crowded in the town. This article helps you in ways to get prepared for Athi Varadar Darshan, with respect to parking, online booking for tickets etc.

To people who wonder, who is Athi Varadar and why it gets viral in recent days, I give a brief info

He is a 9 feet idol carved out of Athi(Fig) tree, he was immersed in Kancheepuram Varadaraja temple's Pushkaranai(the temple's pond). The pond is emptied once in 40 years and the idol is taken out and placed in the temple for devotees to have darshan for 48 days only. Again the idol will be immersed in the temple's pond and will be out only after 40 years. There are many stories and reasons behind this process, one among such stories is to save this idol from invasion. It is wondered how a wooden idol stays good even after 40 years of immersion.

The sequence of the 40 years fallen on this year 2019 after 1979. Athi Varadar was taken out and placed in the temple on July 1st, 2019. He is placed in the lying posture(Sayana kolam) for 40 days from July 1 to August 9 and will be placed in standing posture(Nindra Kolam) for the last 8 days from August 11 to August 17. Since the darshan is open only for 48 days, the devotees in large numbers are getting crowded in the town. The temple management and State Government has taken precautionary activities to keep everything in control. Since this temple visit is not the normal one, visitors should be well prepared before their visit.

Right time to visit Athi Varadar


Athi Varadar is placed for darshan for 48 days from July 1st, 2019 to August 17th, 2019. Timings from 5 am to 1 pm and again from 2 pm to 8 pm. Due to Karuda Urchavam on July 11, 2019, no darshan after 5 pm. For Sahasranama Archanai, only two slots per day are allotted, i.e., 11 am and 5 pm. Online booking is available for this darshan. It takes a minimum of 2 to 3 hours to get darshan. People from distance should plan to visit the temple in the morning itself. Free Darshan queue stretches for more than 3 kilometres.
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Online booking details


Tickets for special darshan or Sahasranama Archanai tickets are sold online only in the tnhrce website. This online booking is open 4 days prior to the darshan date. Cost per ticket is Rs. 500. Online booking starts at 10 Am and only 500 seats(250 per slot) are sold per day. Bookings will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Facilities Available


  1. Commute: Apart from town buses, minibuses are also arranged from bus stops to the temple. The cost per ticket is Rs. 10. It is far better than the Autos(many charges Rs.300).
  2. Parking: After reaching the town, Police will assist you to the nearest parking lot. Boards are placed for easy direction. The nearest parking spot is in Thiruveedhi Pallam, which is also known as Thirucholai street.
  3. Special people: Senior citizens, physically challenged people, pregnant ladies and parents with less than 2 years old kids are allowed in a separate queue. Wheelchairs and battery cars are also provided, still, they need to wait and walk in the queue for a short distance.
  4. Summer needs: For every 100m, the temple has arranged for drinking water. People are allowed to carry their own water too.

Precaution


  1. Consider your health and plan your visit, because walking for some distance cannot be avoided, also, getting out of the queue in the middle is also not easy. Though wheelchairs and battery cars are provided, the devotees have to walk from parking to temple to avail these services.
  2. It takes a minimum of 2 hours to 6 hours for darshan, so take water and snacks accordingly, especially when visiting the temple with kids. Plan your visit in the morning, if you travel from another town or cities.
  3. Avoid taking personal transport. You cannot park near the temple. Also, it takes a minimum of half a kilometre to walk from the parking lot.
  4. Leave your footwear somewhere away from the temple, because your entry(west Gopuram) and exit(East Gopuram) is different, and so it may take almost an hour to get back your footwear. Choose some hotel or shop or vehicle to leave your footwear.
  5. Don't depend on the hotel for food, though there are a couple of decent hotels, they run out of stock to feed the huge crowd. Either be ready to travel for a short distance or pack your food from home.
  6. After 8 am /9 am, the crowd increases and so many special people arriving after this time may not get proper guidance or approval to enter the special queue. So, when you want to avail these facilities, make sure to reach the temple as early in the morning as possible.


Though it looks hard to get darshan after a long wait in a long queue, you will feel everything worth it. It may be only a minute of darshan but you will feel blessed for it, because we are not sure how fortunate we are to have the next darshan of Athi Varadar after 40 years. Before he gets immersed in water, let us glorify the moment.


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