Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Friday, August 23, 2019

Oppiliappan Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. The presiding deity in this temple is Lord Uppiliappan Perumal with his consort Bhumi Devi and her father sage Markandeya.

 

 

The temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is counted as the 60th among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. This place is also called 'Vaikunta Nagaram', 'Markandeya Kshetram', and as 'Tulasi vanam' . Stone inscriptions here refer to the temple as Tiruvinnagar - Tirunageswaram and Uyyakkondaar Valanaadu.

 

 

As per Hindu legend, 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 Vishnu came in disguise as an old man and 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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the Lord had said that he will accept the food that is not salted as his best and most desired food, this temple Naivethiyam is always done without salt in any food. The name Oppiliappan ( uppu illa appan) is as result of this legend. It is believed that praying to Lord and Mother in the temple would ensure unity among the couples and cultivate harmony in their life.

 

 

 

 

 

Temple Tank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

 

 

Festival

 

 

 

The chariot festival is the most prominent festival of the temple, celebrated for nine days during the Tamil month of Panguni (March–April) and devotees from various places pull the chariot round the streets of temple.

 

 

 

The temple celebrates six other festivals: Vasanta Utsavam (spring festival) for 6 days in the temple garden during Vaikasi (May–June), Pavitrotsavam (purifying festival) for 5 days during Avani (Aug – Sep), Brahmotsavam for nine days of Purattasi (Sept – Oct), Kalyana Utsavam (holy marriage of god and goddess) for 12 days commencing from Sravanam during Aippasi (Oct–Nov), Adhyayana Utsavam (ten-day-and-ten-night festival) during Margazhi (Dec–Jan) and float festival for 5 days during Thai(Jan – Feb). Ramanavami, is celebrated for ten days with music and dance performance and on the concluding day, kanakabhishekam (ablution with gold for the festival image) and Rama Pattabhishekam is performed. Sravan Deepam is a festival celebrated every month in the temple on the day of Tamil star of Thiruvonam and devotees observe fast called Sravana Vratham that day by consuming only unsalted food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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