This comes days after four persons who went to the temple for a ‘darshan’ lost their lives due to suffocation.

After facing flak for poor handling of Athi Varadar fest TN CM mulls shifting venuePTI
news Temple Monday, July 22, 2019 - 09:32

Even as Tamil Nadu continues to receive flak for the arrangements at the Athi Varadar festival in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has revealed that the state government is in discussions to shift the venue. 

Over the weekend, Chief Secretary K Shanmugam as well as Director General of Police JK Tripathy, reportedly visited the temple town to assess the arrangements for the devotees.

According to a report in The Hindu, CM Palaniswami addressed reporters in Salem and said, “Respective department Ministers, secretaries and DGP held discussions with gurukals of the temple yesterday (Saturday). The gurukals of the temple are being consulted regarding shifting the place of worship for Athi Varadar. All necessary steps would be taken by the government to ensure safe and pleasant darshan for devotees at the temple.”

The plan to shift the venue comes following severe criticism over the handling of the arrangements, days after four persons who went to the temple for a ‘darshan’ lost their lives due to suffocation. The devotees complained of breathlessness while waiting in the queue for the darshan on Thursday. While claiming that the devotees had a history of medical issues, the Chief Minister announced a solatium of Rs 1 lakh to the kin of those who died.

Athi Varadhar is a Hindu religious fest that takes place once in 40 years. The statue of the deity, made out of the fig tree, is usually kept in the temple tank of the Varadharaja Perumal temple in Kancheepuram. It is taken out once every 40 years and kept for devotees to come and offer prayers for 48 days. 

As this is a festival that takes place once in 40 years, devotees have been thronging to the temple since day one. Currently, the average wait to catch a glimpse of the deity ranges between three and seven hours as thousands of devotees queue up in front of the temple.

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