Oppiliappan Temple, also known as Thiruvinnagar is located in the outskirts of the Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, it is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Here the Lord is worshipped as Oppiliappan and his consort is Goddess Bhuma Devi. The temple has inscriptions dating from the Chola period highlighting the ancient history of the temple. The presiding deity is also called by various names such as Thiruvinnagarappan, Oppiliappan, Thanoppillaappan, Uppiliappan and Srinivasan.
The temple is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana : Sage Markandeya worshipped Lord Vishnu and desired that Goddess Lakshmi be born as his daughter so that He would become his son-in-law. Around the same time, Thulasi (basil plant) also performed a penance to become close to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu blessed the sage and responded that Goddess Lakshmi would appear as a baby under a Thulasi plant in a place called Tiruvinnagaram. As promised, Lakshmi appeared as a baby under a Thulasi shrub. The sage took possession of the baby and raised her.
When the young girl reached adolescence, Lord Vishnu appeared as an old man and asked for the sage for her hand in marriage. The sage, unable to separate from her daughter replied, “My daughter is too young and she does not even know how to perform the duties of a wife. In fact she does not even know how much salt to use in cooking“. To this, the old man replied, “If your daughter cooks food even without any salt, I shall partake it“. Sage Markandeya then realised that the old man was Lord Vishnu himself.
Origins of the name
The Lord appeared in front of him in his true form holding the conch and the discus and blessed him. The sage then offered his daughter’s hand in marriage. Since Thulasi plant played a role in the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, the Lord wears her as a garland around his neck thus giving her a permanent place in his body. Even today, the temple’s offerings are prepared without salt. (‘Uppu’ – salt, ‘ili’ – without; hence the name ‘Uppiliappan’).
The temple has a five-tiered rajagopuram (tower). Lord Oppiliappan is enshrined in the main sanctum in the standing posture. Two of the four hands wield the divine conch (shankha) and discus (Sudarshana) while the lower left hand displays the inscription “maam ekam sharanam vraja“ from Bhagavadgita which means “devote yourself only to me to attain salvation. Below, Goddess Bhoomidevi is in a kneeling posture while sage Markandeya is in the position to offering Kannikadhanam (giving his daughter in marriage to the Lord).
On the sides of the precinct, there are shrines of Lord Rama, Hanuman, Lord Krishna, Alwars, Ramanuja and Swami Desikan. As the Lord himself wished to stay in this place, this place is known as Thiruvinnagar (place of heaven).
Equivalence to Thiruppathi
The deity of this place Oppiliappan is considered the elder brother of Lord Srinivivasa of Thirumala Thirupathi. So all the offerings due for the Lord of Thirupathi are offered here. This shrine is celebrated as ‘Vaikundam’ and ‘South Tiruppathi’. This temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham. The Azhwars who sang praise of this temple are Thirumangaiazhwar, Peyazhwar and Nammazhwar.
The temple observes six daily rituals and three yearly festivals. The chariot festival, celebrated during the Tamil month of “Panguni” (March–April), is the most prominent. Other festivals include Vasanta Utsavam (during Vaikasi (May–June), Pavitrotsavam Avani (Aug – Sep), and Brahmotsavam Purattasi (Sept – Oct). Also, on Shravana star of each month , “shravana deepam” is celebrated by lighting a huge lamp in the temple.
Some Temple Facts
|Main Deity||Oppiliappan, Bhoomi Devi|
|Location||Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu(Chola Nadu)u)|
|Architecture Style||Dravidian Style|
|Temple Age||1000 – 2000 years|
|Azwars who did Mangalasasanam||Poigaiazhwar, Periazhwar, Nammazhwar, Thirumangaiazhwar|
Periya Thirumozhi : 1488-77, 1855, Siriya Thirumadal – 2673, Periya Thirumadal – 2674, Thirunedunthandagam – 2080, Thirumangai Moonraam Thiruvandhadhi – 2342-43 – Peyazhwar Thiruvaimozhi – 3249-59 – Nammazhwar
Lord is considered the elder brother of Balaji of Thirumalai Thirupati. Offerings are prepared without salt.
|Prayers made for||
Unity among couples, child prospects
Chariot Festival (Mar-Apr), Vasanta Utsavam (May-Jun) and Shravana Deepam (monthly)
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