Chennai: Calling upon the public to make liberal donations towards annadhanam for devotees worshipping Athi Varadar at the Varadaraja Perumal temple in Kancheepuram, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on Wednesday sought to set an example himself by making a personal contribution of Rs 1 lakh towards the mass feeding.
The deity has been attracting huge turnout of worshippers every day ever since He was brought out from His abode at the bottom of the temple tank on July 1 for darshan for 48 days before returning to the water on August 17.
The temple administration has denied reports that Athi Varadar will not return to the temple tank and be installed either as the main deity at the temple or alongside the present deity.
Athi Varadar is brought out of the temple tank water bed every 40 years for the 48-day worship according to the Agama norms. “There have been rumours and many postings in the social media that against the Agama norms, Athi Varadar will remain in the temple and installed in standing position for worship. Nothing will be done against the Agamas”, said one of the senior priests.
Recalling the statement made by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami during his visit to the temple on Tuesday that Athi Varadar will be kept in the standing position for worship from August 1 before returning to His abode under the temple tank water, the priest told reporters that the decision to this effect was taken after consultations with the government, the HR&CE top brass and the temple administration, including the senior priests.
Amid all-round criticism that the Government had failed to provide proper facilities for the public to worship Athi Varadar — besides the painful tragedy of four pilgrims dying in the crowd stampede — Chief Minister Palaniswami held a meeting with senior officials at his office here on Monday to evolve steps to streamline the queues and to provide basic facilities such as water and toilets, besides electric vehicles for the elders, disabled and pregnant women.
He followed up that meeting with his visit to the shrine the next day to see for himself the situation and also to worship the deity. He also met the media persons afterwards and detailed the steps taken by the administration to maintain order in the queues and to provide the basic needs for the large influx of devotees. The anna-dhanam was part of that effort to improve things at Kancheepuram....