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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Sri Athigiri Varadhar vaibhavam ~ Dist Collector asks people to avoid coming !!

Now all roads, all thoughts, every action lead to Thirukachi ~ for lakhs are thronging Kanchi every day to have darshan of Athigiri Perumal ~  48 days out of the Ananthasaras tank and blessing us all.     Sri Athigiri Arulalar – the present thirumeni now worshipped was the one worshipped by our Acaryas and our fore-fathers many many years ago and that is the sole reason for us to go near Him and have His darshan. 

When we were fortunate enough to have his darshan standing for 5 ½ hours with bakths of various hues – aged, some disabled, some with health issues, children and more – it was (amidst all difficulties) a pleasant thing.  The very thought of darshan of Emperuman albeit few seconds bound everyone in the vicinity.   People start assembling even before it dawns – in the darkness more than 20000 people line up and the crowd starts swelling.   My personal observation is those who came for darshan were well disciplined, chanting the names of Sriman Narayana [Govindha nama sankeerthanam] and talking about His mahimai.  Those waiting on the streets slowly swelled – yet was largely orderly and by 0430 am, crowd started moving as the temple gates at eastern side were opened.  Then was the zig-saw formation winding its way in front of the Temple gate and then inside the sands of the temple – it was long long queue and we neared the Vasantha mantap – excitement went many notches.  There were VIPs and others having preference  – while tens of thousands / lakhs of people were standing anxiously to have His glimpse. 

I had posted this yesterday ~ there were barricades, fans along the walk way – but the administration was found wanting in crowd management, not providing basic amenities – few toilets inside the temple compound – foul smell emanating – certainly not tidy, lot is required to be done  .. .. the Temple is administered by HR&CE Dept – who initially offered Rs.50 ticket line, then online ticket [none of my friends could book online] and .. .. now the Dept has announced Special Darshan Booking priced at Rs. 300 which the web says would  start at 11 am in their official website. Lakhs visit the Temple to have darshan of Adhi Athi Varadhar unmindful of the challenges and difficulties.

In between – there have been stampede and a day back 4 people reportedly died ! in the melee – on an earlier occasion too, couple of people died.  The medical support or emergency rescue is palpably low – and today’s advertisement found in Dinamalar, TOI and other media is appalling !!  ~  simple ! – the one issued in the name of Dist Collector Kanchipuram asks people [old, infirm, children, pregnant and others] to avoid coming for darshan to the extent possible .. .. sounds incredulous. 

The efficacy of administration is to handle issues – crowd management is effectively done at so many other places, directly comparable religious places.  At Kumbh Mela the World’s largest gathering they use AI too. But not trying to put things in order, having no priorities, no management technique, strategy, planning – simple solution – ‘ask bakthas to avoid coming’.

One need not be a management expert – simplest, be part of the crowd – just stand in the queue for a day – the woes can easily be listed out, analysed, prioritized and solutions found.  Perhaps the immediate need is for regulating the crowds, restricting the VIP, providing easy access to old, disabled, children, pregnant ladies and perhaps – placing Adhi Varadhar in a high placed mantap nearer the Ananthasaras tank itself – enabling darshan from all sides.

But the Administration simply asks people to avoid coming and not crowding ! – at Kumbh Mela   in Prayag Raj reports  claimed that over 2 crore people took a holy dip in one day - claiming it to be a record of the sort. People who are associated with the Kumbh mela put the figure to be not less than 50 lakh people on the first day of the Kumbh.  Yet it was reported that the city did not feel the impact of the large numbers. 
It is a huge occasion, once in 40 years, having darshan of Sri Adhi Athi Varadhar is indeed unique – everyone would like to have darshan and it is the duty and responsibility of all to ensure His darshan.

adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
20th July 2019.

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