High Court rejects PILs seeking extension of Athi Varadar festival

The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed two PILs seeking extension of the 48-day-long Lord Athi Varadar festival which is ending Saturday.

A bench comprising S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad rejected the prayer of the public interest litigation petitioners who sought more time citing the huge rush of devotees thronging the Devarajaswamy temple in neighbouring Kancheepuram.

The petitioners sought extension of the festival by another 40 days.

The court had earlier this week dismissed another similar plea after the Tamil Nadu government submitted it was not possible to extend the period.

The deity made of fig wood is taken out of the temple tank once in 40 years and kept for darshan of devotees for 48 days. This year, the festival began on July 1 and Friday is the last day for public ‘darshan’.

The idol would be placed back in the Anantasaras tank of the temple on Saturday.

In another related petition, Justice P D Audikesavalu on Friday directed that the water let in to the temple tank shall satisfy the norms of the Pollution Control Board.

The judge gave the direction on a petition seeking a direction for cleaning up the tank.

Over one crore devotees have offered prayers to the deity, officials said.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Telangana and Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers K Chandrashekar Rao and K Palaniswami, respectively, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and superstar Rajinikanth are among the prominent people who had ‘darshan’ of Athi Varadar.

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