INDIA, July 27, 2018 (The Hindu): News of the Mahakumbabishekam of Sri Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi came as a surprise. And it was happening after two centuries, 238 years to be precise. History has it that Rani Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore built the present temple and dedicated it without much fanfare in 1780. Ever since no consecration has been done. Even more surprising was the fact that a person from the South was at the helm, supported by the Pandas, including Sri Srikanth and Sri Raman — both scholars. The story, as narrated by Chennai couple Subbusundaram and Annapoorani makes for a fairytale, only this one is divine. Its location between the river Varna and the stream Asi gives the sacred city its name. The Ganges with the 84 ghats on her banks has spawned thousands of stories and songs, being the muse for poets, artists and composers.
“I’m not a religious kind of person,” begins Subbusundaram. His track record, however, belies his words. Belonging to Nattukottai, Subbusundaram is the patron of several temples, including those in the Nagarathar belt. As secretary of the Nagarathar Chatiram in Varanasi, Subbusundaram is a frequent visitor to the place and does not fail to worship at the Vishwanath Temple. He would offer suggestions to the authorities regarding improvements, often referring to the way temples are maintained down South. “In this context, I mentioned kumbabhishekam and they wanted to know more about it. As I described what it was and why it was done, they asked whether I could help them conduct one at the temple. “It was indeed magical,” he asserts. Between the day he got the official letter — February 22 — and the date of the consecration — July 5 — it was a race against the clock. But the arrangements, which included getting official permission for every little thing because of high security, fell in place neatly. As many as 50 priests, led by Pichai Gurukkal of Pillaiyarpatti, arrived at Varanasi. None of them accepted money for their service.