- Aththi Varadhar is a six-feet tall (the pedestal measures another three feet) idol of Lord Mahavishnu carved out of wood from a fig tree. The present idol is said to be nearly 500 hundred years old. The idol, is immersed inside a specially constructed tank within the temple tank of Varadaraja Perumal Temple tank in Kanchipuram, home to 13 Vishnu temples.
- The practice is said to have begun during the Muslim invasion of the 17th century though many scholars believe the original wooden idol got damaged and was placed in the tank much earlier and was replaced by a stone deity in the sanctum.
- The idol is taken out once in 40 years for public viewing after being coated with special oils to give it a glistening look and to preserve it for the future. In the first 24 days the idol was in the reclining posture, before being kept in the standing posture. After 48 days (one ‘mandalam’) it will return to the temple tank and covered with water on August 18.