The Awakening : Athi Varadar 2019

The Awakening : Athi Varadar 2019

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Book Specification

Item Code: UAG763
Publisher: THG Publishing P. Ltd., Chennai
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789387791503
Pages: 104 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Other Details 11.50 X 8.50 inch
Weight 390 gm

Book Description


It is impossible to plan for religious fervor. If the officials of the Sri Varadaraja Swamy Temple at Kanchipuram had expected about 25 lakh devotees to have darshan of Athi Varadar, during the 48 days of His exposition in July and August 2019, more than one crore devotees had the darshan. Besides those from Tamil Nadu, a sizable section of these: devotees was from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. A key reason could be that the Athi Varadar idol, about nine-foot long, was being kept in exposition after 40 long years. During this period, the deity, sculpted out of Athi wood, had remained in water in an underground granite vault, built below a four-pillared mantapa in the Ananta Saras tank situated on the temple premises. So, an aura about this deity developed: how the wood did not disintegrate despite remaining in water for more than 100 years. The next exposition is 40 years away and thus the 2019 exposition presented a rare opportunity to the people to have Athi Varadar's darshan.

It was in the late 16th century, during the Vijayanagara dynasty's rule, that a stone idol of Sri Varadaraja Swamy replaced the idol made of athi (fig) wood, which was under worship in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. It is a mystery why it was done and who did It. The Athi Varadar idol, which was removed from the sanctum, has been kept in water from then onwards in an underground vault in the tank. What is puzzling is that there are no inscriptional references to the replacement of the idol. This despite the temple having more than 350 lithic inscriptions belonging to the various dynasties providing information on varied topics.

The Varadaraja Swamy temple is more than 1,300 years old. It had its origin during the Pallava period. It has a rich history, witnessing steady expansion. It is, in fact, a massive temple complex with a series of concentric enclosures, many shrines and massive mantapas. It has beautiful sculptures, inscriptions, murals and carvings that throw valuable light on the growth of Vaishnavism; political upheavals, the folklore, customs etc of the day, festivals organised in the temple; donations made to the temple for its maintenance. its development during the Chola rule from the 11th century to the 13th century, and its spectacular expansion during the Vijayanagara period in the 16th century under the rule of Krishnadevaraya and his successor, Achyuthadevaraya And Athi Varadar added an altogether new dimension to the temple.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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