Formerly known as Tanjore, this city is located in the state of Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India. Founded by Swaran Maran, one of the Mutharayar kings, this city is among the very old cities in the country. Being the location of many of the Chola temples that are declared as World Heritage Monuments by UN (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), this place is considered to be one of the important hubs of the art and architecture of south India. The famous Tanjore painting originated from this city.
About The Temple
This Divyadesam is located near Tirunageswaram, near Tiruvidaimarudur and Kumbhakonam. It is one of the well known and well visited Divya Desam temples and is considered to be a Prartanaistalam. The name Oppiliappan refers to the presiding deity who is considered comparable to none. Nammalwar refers to Vishnu as Ponnappan, Maniappan, Muttappan, Ennappan and Tiruvinnagarappan.
About 7 kilometres from Kumbakonam, Vishnu shrine and may perform their vows here. All food offerings at the temple are strictly and completely saltless. Salt or any food item containing salt is not allowed in the temple beyond Garuda’s Sannidhi. It is a sin to carry salt inside the temple. Hence the Lord is also called as ‘Lavana Varjita Venkatesa’ i.e. Venkatesa who avoids salt.
There is no separate shrine for Bhoomidevi here and as already stated, Bhoomidevi is sitting with folded hands by the side of the Lord in the main sanctum sanctorum. The utsava deity oppiliappan is never taken out of the temple, without His consort, Bhoomidevi.
The Temple has a holy tank inside the temple premises. It is 1 km from ThiruNaageshwaram which is Lord Shiva Temple for doing pariharam for Rahu Dhosham. The temple has many Sannidhis for Lord Rama, Lord Garuda Azhwar, Lord Hanuman, Maniappan, Muthappan. The area for pradakshinam has many beautiful paintings of Dasavatar. It has got Gosala and garden also. There is a beautiful Temple elephant which is decorated during festival occasions.
The Oppiliappan Temple, also known as Thiruvinnagar or Uppliyappan Temple is a Sri Narayanan temple located near the village of Thirunageswaram in Kumbakonam of Tamil Nadu, India.
Adorned with a 50 feet high five tiered Raja gopuram, this east facing temple has two prakarams. Stone inscriptions here refer to the templeas Tiruvinnagar - Tirunageswaram and Uyyakkondaar Valanaadu. Inscriptions here date back to the period of Rajendra Chola.
Among 108 Divya desam, This sthalam had no salt in prasatham for lords. This perumal had a seperate suprabatham like Thirupati Venkadachalapathy.
About The Deity
The Moolavar Oppiliappan or Uppiliappan - Srinivasan, in a standing posture facing east resembles Venkatachalapati at Tirupati. Taayaar here is Bhumi Devi, enshrined in the same sanctum. Legend has it that Markandeyar, Kaveri and Yama worshipped Vishnu here. It is believed that this shrine is equivalent to Tirupati.
When the Great sea of Vaikunda, the Thiruparkadal was churned, Lakshmi devi and Thulasi devi emerged out from the sea. Lord Narayana, placed Mahalakshmi in his heart. Thulasi devi too wanted to marry Lord Narayana. So, he guided her to become a thulasi plant where Maharishi Markandeya performed penance. She came to Thirunageswaram near Kumbakonam. After a long period of hard pennance Lord Narayana gave her the wife post. Lord Narayana gave Mahalakshmi a place in his heart but he gave Thulasi devi a very special opportunity (ie) Thilasi devi has perumanently got the place as a garland around his neck.
So internally Mahalakshmi blesses us and externally Thulasi devi blesses us. From then Thulasi is considered as a sacred herb and has lots of medicinal values it. Markandeya Maharishi is the son of Mrikantu Maharishi andhe had the wounderful opportunity of having dharsan of both Mahavishnu and Lord Shiva in his life time. He prayed hard to Lord Vishnu, asking him to granted him Bhoomidevi as his daughter his wish was granted for one day he found Bhoomidevi as a two year old child under the Thulasi plant in the forest in Thirunageswaram. Days went by and one day, Lord Vishnu came as an old Brahmin. Markandeya Maharishi gave him a very hearty welcome the aged Brahmin wanted to marry Bhoomi devi. But, Markandeya Maharishi tried to explain him that his daughter was too young to get married.
But the Brahmin refused to accept his reasons and blackmailed him that if he did not have Bhoomi devi as his wife he would die on the spot. Maharishi pleaded him to leave his child. He told him that my daughter is not yet fit for marriage mentally and physically. She doesn’t even know to cook food with proper proportion of salt. But the old man unable to be convinced. So, he Maharishi asked his daughter to accept for marriage. She started crying and told her father that she too would die if her father compelled her to marry the old man. Now, Markandeya Maharishi was caught in fix. He pleaded Mahavishnu to get him out of the problem. Internally he knelt before the Lord and caught his feet and prayed hard to solve his problem.
When Maharishi woke from Dhyanam (Prayer), instead of aged Brahmin he found Lord Mahavishnu clad in most beautiful clothing with one hand in his hip and the other seeking Bhoomi devi's hand for marriage.
Bhoomi devi was very happy and was really to accept Lord Mahavishnu as her husband. Markandeya Maharishi too was very happy. So on the day of Sravana Natchatram of the Tamil Month Aipasi Lord Mahavishnu married Bhoomidevi. The grand occassion was graced by Lord Brahma and all the celestial persons (ie) devars. Even than Markanteya Maharishi felt sad due to his boundless towards his daughter. He feared that his daughter might not know the correct quantity of salt for dishes. So he asked Lord Mahavishnu three boons:
1. O! Lord you should take dishes without salt in this place. But the dishes should taste wonderful to you and your devotees.
2. You should never leave my daughter alone; you have to stay with her forever.
3. This place should be named after me.
Hence, from the onwards, Lord Vishnu takes food without salt and so he is called Oppiliappan (ie) Uppu - illatha - appan literall Lord without salt. So, even today Lord Oppiliappan takes food without salt. Many may think that why so importance to salt. Salt is the main item not only in South Indian dish but in multi continental too. Without salt nothing would taste high. To improve the level of Sweetness to, a pinch of salt is being added. But too much of salt will also spoil the dish. Hence salt plays an important place. Lord Mahavishnu has forbidden such an item showing humanity that love is the most wanted thing in one's life rather than anything including hatredness.
As from the heaven (ie) Vinnulagam Lord himself wished to stay on this place, this place is known as Vinnagar (place of heaven), also as a wish of Markandeya Maharishi this is also known as "Markanteya Kshetram". Thulasi devi got her wish satisfied at this place and along with pleasent smelling flowers - Thulasi leaf has got an important role in its part (ie) the role of beautifying Lord Mahavishnu as a garland this place is also called as "Thulasivanam".
Lord Oppiliappan bowed in front of Markandeya Maharishi to seek his daughter for marriage and got her as "Kannikadhanam", (ie) getting a girl for marriage as deed of alms from the bride's father. As Lord himself got alms from his father in law, the following deads are consided very scared at this place. Each and every Thulasi leaf used to perform Pooja (Archani) to Lord Oppiliappan would fetch the total value of an Ashwametha Yagna (yagam).
Every step placed to reach this kshetram would fetch lots of eternal values (Punniyam). Devoting cands to Oppiliappan even as small as a cow's shoe, would fetch definite eternity. (or) immortality. Rendering chandhan, Kumkum and flowers would vanquish the sins like the murder of a Brahmin etc. By devoting Dhoopakal, Deepakal, vessells needed for pooja and Thirumanjanam (Bathing of Lord god), brass bell and silk clothing one could get themselves out from all sorts of sins. Those who undertake/perform utsavam to Lord Oppiliappan would definitely have the boon of birth of a child. Just by chanting "Thulasivanam" all the effect sins fly away. In the Tamil month Panguni on the day of Sravanam doing the following things would remove all the if phabam's due to Panchama Pathyam effects evil sins like murder, roberry etc. Early in the morning, people bathe in the temple pushkarani. Give alms (dhanam) to needy people. Choose any 5 Brahmins and treat them as the 5 forms of Oppiliappan (ie) as Ponnappan, Maniappan, Muthappan, Ennappan, Vinnagarappan. Then give them Thirukannal amudhu (ie) Payasam (ie) Sweet kheer and finally worship Oppiliappan in his Sannathi.
Oppiliappan in his Moolastanam (ie) Karbagraham (ie) Main Sannadhi takes the form of Ponappan, Muthappan and Vinnagarappan. Out side the Moolavar Sannadhi, to the Northern side, of Opposite to pushkarani one can have dharsan of Ennappan and to the south side of the Moolavar sannathi inside the flower garder Manniappan has his sannathi.
Glimpse of Moolavar Sanathi
Oppiliappan stands upto 8 feet tall in the centre. Below him Bhoomidevi faces north in a kneeling posture while Makandeya Maharishi who has the boon of retaining his age as 16 forever is the position to perform Kannikadhanam (ie) ready to perform marriage to his daughter. Left hand of Oppiliappa perumal contains the inscription "Maam Ekam Saranam Vrija" a made of diamonds which is a verse form Bhagavatgita instructing the whole mankind to devote their pure souls into his lotus feet to attain Salvation. There is an interesting tale regarding the reason behind the name of this pushkarani. Once there was a Brahmin named Devasharma belonging to the clan of Bharadwaja Maharishi. One day it happened so, that he took forcefully the daughter of Gymini Maharishi as his wife. The rishi heard his daughters cries and atonce he cursed Devasharma turn in Krunchu Paravai a type of bord. Then only shrama realised his mistake and he pleded the Maharishi to leave him. As his anger suoded, he told devasharma to wait near pushkarani of Oppiliappan perumal temple and one day he would be freed from the curse.
It happened so one day during night time. A huge strom borke out and the branch in which devasharma was sitting as a bird broke and tell pushkarani. As soon as the divine water splashed in the birds body, devasharma was freed fromhis curse. Generally one has to take bath in the pushkarani only in the day time. Generally one has to take bath in the pushkarani only in the day time. But as unusually this pushkarani paved the way to freedom devashrama's curse during the night time, this pushkarani is named as "Ahorathra Pushkarani" which means litrelly "Unusual in night".
In the tamil months Panguni Bhramotsavam of Eypasi month Kalyana utsavam's are conducted. On every day of Sravana natchatram (ie) on the sravana day of every month, "Sravana deepam" is taken ie a huge camp is being lit and fortunes are forecast. By paying required amount in the Devastanam, we can conduct Kalyana Utsavam, Garuda sevai and Moolavar Thirumanjanam. Sthala virutcham (Scared Tree): Flower - Herbs, Thulsi etc. Whenever Oppiliappa Perumal's idol is taken for procession, He is always accompanied along with Bhoomidevi only. The Perumal wont step out the Temple without Thaayar inorder to keep his promise. Oplliappan perumal is treated as Brother of Srinivasaperumal of Thirumala Thirupathi. So all the offerings due to Thirupathi perumal can be offered here and it's taken as equivalent as it were offered at Thirupathi.
Peyalwar - 2 Paasurams.
Nammalwar - 11 Paasurams.
Thirumangai - 34 Paasurams.
Total - 47 Paasurams.
Vishnu Vimaanam - Sudhanandha Vimaanam.
Sri Uppiliyappan Mahatyam
Lord Uppiliyappan was praised by Nammazhwar in his songs as Ponnappan, Maniappan, Muthappan, Ennappan and Thiruvinnagar appan and Opparilla Appan (means not equivalent to anybody). He is also called an elder brother of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirumala Hills.
Legends and Stories
Mother Bhoomadevi expressed Her grievance to Lord Perumal that She had not the privilege of being in the chest of Lord though she too had all the dignity features of Mother Mahalakshmi and demanded that right for Her too. Lord replied that She would have that position as the daughter of a Maharshi Markandeya and that She would be known as Tiruthuzhai (Tulsi). Meantime, sage Markandeya was also performing penance to have Mahalakshmi as his daughter. He saw a little child Bhoomadevi having all the attributes of Mahalakshmi near a Tulsi plant. He was too happy to take the child and bring Her up. When She attained the marriageable age, Lord Vishnu in the guise of an old man called on the sage seeking his daughter in marriage. Sage simply turned down His request saying that his daughter was too young for Him and did not know even cooking with correct quantity of salt to be added to the preparations. Adamant Lord said that he would accept the food even without salt. Sage understood that the visitor was no other a person than Perumal Himself, was happy to give his beloved daughter to Him.
As Perumal accepted food without salt (Uppu in Tamil), He is praised as Uppili Appan and also as Oppili Appan as none equals Him. Oppili-no equal. Thus Tulasidevi-Bhooma devi came to stay on the chest of Lord in the form of Tulsi garlands offered by devotees in all Perumal temples.
Legend has it that Bhudevi was reborn as the daughter of Markandeya and that an old man sought her hand in marriage; the sage attempted to stall the marriage by stating that his daughter was not well versed in household duties, and that she would even forget to season food with salt. The old man revealed himself as Vishnu, and took Bhu Devi as his bride. Salt is not included in any of the offerings made to the deity; hence also, the name Uppiliappan. Legends associated with this temple are referenced in the Bhrahmaanda puraanam.
The legend associated with the temple goes like thus- Once Tulasi did penance and asked to be given special place in Lord Narayana's chest like Goddess Lakshmi. Lord Narayana said that Lakshmi occupied that position after severe penance and she was about to incarnate on the banks of river Cauvery in Earth with the name of Bhumi Devi. The Lord asked Tulasi to appear there prior to her as a tulasi plant and Lakshmi will incarnate under Tulasi's shadow. Tulasi obeyed the order and became tulsi bushes on the Cauvery banks. Since Tulasi supported Lakshmi's incarnation, Lord Narayanan rewarded Tulasi as being very special to him in the temple. It is beleived that one who worships Narayana with Tulsi leaves will get the effect of doing an Ashvamedha yagam. Meanwhile, Mrikandu Maharishi's son, Markandeya worshipped the Lord Vishnu and desired that Lakshmi should be born as his daughter and the Lord himself should become his son-in-law. One day, when Markandeya reached Thiruvinnagaram, he felt that this was the right place for getting his desire fulfilled. Markandeya then started a severe penance for 1000 years seeking Lakshmi's blessings. After thousand years of severe penance, Lakshmi appeared as a baby under the already incarnated Tulsi plant . Markandeya felt the presence of Lakshmi as the incarnation in the form of the baby and realised that a part of his desire had been fulfilled. He took possession of the baby and raised her. When this young girl reached adolescent age , on a day in the panguni month of Sravana Nakshathram, the Lord appeared as an old man and asked for the hand of Markandeya's daughter in marriage. Markandeya replied that her daughter is too young and could not even cook with proper salt in the food,to which the Lord in the guise of the old man replied that he was ready to accept her and her cooking without salt. Markandeya later realised this was none other the Lord narayan himself and offered his daughter's hand in marriage and performed the kannikaathaanam of his daughter (Lakshmi) to the Lord.
Since the Lord had said that He will accept the food that is not salted as His best and most desired food, this temple Neivethiyam is always done without salt in any food. The name Oppiliappan ( uppu illa appan) is as result of this legend.
Inscriptions here date the temple during the period of Rajendra Chola.The temple has a 50 feet high five tiered Raja gopuram facing east and has two prakarams. Stone inscriptions here refer to the temple as Tiruvinnagar - Tirunageswaram and Uyyakkondaar Valanaadu.
Once Sage Markandeya prayed for children. Being pleased by his prayers, Goddess Bhumi Devi was reborn as his daughter near a Tulsi Plant. As the days passed, Lord Uppiliyappan came in disguise as an old man and sought marriage to Sage Markandeya. Rishi also accepted, but he was worried. He told Lord that his daughter is very young and does not know even to put salt in food and also does not know about household things. Lord accepted that whatever she cooked he would eat showing mercy towards the Rishi Markandeya. Marriage was held in pomp and Glory. To this day, the prasadam offered will be of without salt in order to approve the Lord’s words.
There is also a story behind the tank in this temple. There lived a king called Devasarma and he became passionate about Zaina muni's ( a rishi) daughter and had wanted to forcibly take her. Seeing this the rishi cursed him to become a bird. Realising his mistake he pleaded to the sage for forgiveness. The sage softened by his pleadings asked him (who had become a bird ) to go to Markandeya kshetram ( now oppiliyappan koil) and hang himself upside down in a tree like bat. The King did as was told and one night when there was a storm and the branch of the tree the bird was sleeping on broke and fell into the water of this tank. The bird which got dipped by this accident in the tank regained its original form as the King and since then this is known as the only theerththam that one can take bath even in the night. In general bathing in temple tank in the night is not recommended by our scriptures but the rule is exempted here and hence it is called "ahoraathra pushkarani" ( Ahoraatra in Sanskrit meaning day and night).
The Annual Brahmotsavam will be conducted during Panguni and Puratasi Month. The Vasantha Utsavam will be conducted in Vaikasi Month. The Kalyana Utsavam will be conducted in Aipasi. Sravana Nakshatram in each month is important. Separate Kalyana Utsavam can be conducted like Tirumala. During the festivals, Lord Uppiliyappan and his consort Bhumi Devi were taken together in a pallaq. The beauty is that the Lord is always with his consort. Many marriages are held at Uppiliappan Kovil. Brahmmotsavam is grandly celebrated in the temples in the months of Purattasi (September-October), Aipasi (October-November) and Panguni (March-April).
Lord Vishnu-Perumal came to Sage Markandeya on a Panguni (March-April) Tiruvonam star day seeking his daughter’s hand in marriage. The wedding took place on Aipasi (October-November) Tiruvonam Star day. Remembering this event, on Tiruvonam Star day each month, special pujas are performed with Aganda Deepa (big deepa) and Long deepa – Vaal deepa lighting. It is believed that Mother Mahalakshmi graces devotees from these lamps. This darshan is considered a lucky one by the devotees.
On Aavani Tiruvonam star day, Perumal grants darshan – Udaya Garuda Sevai. Then He bathes in the Nattaru River praised as Dakshina Ganga. Special pujas are performed after this event. The practice of soothsaying before the lamps is followed even these days. The slogan uttered by Lord in His Gita Teaching “Maam Charanam Viraja” is written on His right hand pointing to His feet. This means “I take care of those surrendering to me”. Saint Thirumangai Azhwar had praised this Perumal as such. Perumal granted darshan to Azhwar in five forms – Tiruvinnagarapapan (in sanctum sanctorum), Ponnappan (procession deity), Maniappan and Ennappan in Prakara shrines and Muthappan. Of these, Muthappan shrine is not in existence. Discus and Conch are with the Lord in Maniappan shrine.
Nivedhanas are prepared in this temple without salt. It is believed that taking salted food into the temple is a sin. As Sage Markandeya, ever 16 in age, worshipped in this temple, special homas as longevity and Mrutyanja homas are performed in the temple. Ahora Pushkarini Theertha is revered high. Devotees can bathe in this thertha both in day and night. Generally Mother Bhoomadevi is on the left side of Perumal. As Lord wedded her in this place, She has the right side here. Also, while offering his daughter to Perumal in marriage, Sage Markandeya took an undertaking from the Lord that He would not part with Her even for a moment. Accordingly, during all processions, Lord appears with Mother Bhoomadevi.
Aarti / Pooja / Seva
Sravanam is very special here. During that day devotees take a dip in the temple tank and get the darshan of 'sravana' deepam.
Prasad and Offering
The Prasadam is made without salt. It is told that people who eat salt inside the temple premises will be going to hell. The prasadam given without salt is very very tasty. Puliyodharai (Tamarind Rice), Dhadhyonam (Curd Rice), Pongal, Chakkarai Pongal, Vada, Adhirasam, Murukku are offered to Lord as Prasadam.
Devotees perform Tirumanjanam to Lord.
Best time to visit
One can visit the temple throughout the year. Summers (from May to July) tend to be very sultry when the mercury shoots to 40 degree Celsius. The temperature ranges are Summer 33-42°C, Winter 16-28°C
One belief is that if one offers sandal and kumkum one gains salvation from brahmahathi dosha. Offering of doopakal, deepkal and bell will relieve a person of all sins. People offer black peppers with salt at Lord Narayana's feet in front of the Garudazhwar, to cure them of any dermal diseases. It is believed that praying to Lord and Mother in the temple would ensure unity among the couples and cultivate harmony in their life.
Do's and Don'ts
One should pray to their Ishta Devata before pilgrimage to Temple, and seek out the Devasthanam for any information. One can also reserve their travel and accommodation at the Temple in advance. Bathing, wearing clean clothes and being pure is necessary for one to enter the temple.
Near By Attractions
Hara Shaba Vimochana Perumal
The closest airport to Uppiliappan Temple is Civil Airport, Tiruchirappalli.
The closest junction is the Thirunageswaram Railway Station.
The Oppiliappan koil is well connected by bus services from Kumbakaonam. Autos are economical and charge within Rs 100 for a round trip from Kumbakonam. One may have to pay up waiting charges. Driving oneself is also an option, starting from Kumbakonam. The temple in Tirunageswaram is 6 km far from Kumbakonam. There are also buses, and the Uppiliappan Temple is well connected to all major foremost places of the state Tamil Nadu and the neighboring states via road network. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) or private services are available for accessing Uppiliappan Temple to all major cities of the state and the neighboring states.
Thirunageswaram to Nachiyar Kovil Main Rd,
Thirunageswaram, Tamil Nadu – 612204.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- To pray for happiness and peace of mind
Achutham Keyshavam Rama Narayanam Krishna Damodaram Vasudevam Harim Shridharam Madhavam Gopika Vallabham Janaki Nayakam Ramachandram Bhajey
Meaning -Oh Lord who cannot be perished, who also has names like Keshava, Rama, Damodara, Narayana, Sridhara, Madhava, Krishna, Ramachandra the beloved of Janaki, let me say your name regularly.
Vasudeva Sutham Devam Kamsa Chanoora Mardhanam Devaki Paramanandham Krishnam Vande Jagathgurum
Meaning -I bow to you O Krishna, the ultimate guru, Devaki and Vasudeva's son, and the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanur.
Adharam Madhuram Vadanam Madhuram Nayanam Madhuram Hasitam Madhuram Hridayam Madhuram Gamanam Madhuram Mathuraa Dhipate Rakhilam Madhuram
Meaning -Meaning - Sweet are Your lips, sweet is Your face, sweet are Your eyes, sweet is Your smile, sweet is Your heart, sweet is Your gait, O Lord of Mathura, everything about You is sweet.
Alokya Mathur Mukha Madarena Sthanyam Pibantham Saraseeruhaksham Sachinmayam Devam Anantha Roopam Balam Mukundam Manasa Smarami
Meaning -I think of this Balamukundan as the one who looks lovingly at his mother's face while taking milk from her, who has eyes similar to the red lotus, who is the embodiment of truth and intelligence and other forms.
5:00 AM till 12 noon and from 4:00 pm till 9:00 pm.