The only Divya Desam where Lord is served food without salt
Located 6kms East of Kumbakonam, Lord Oppili Appan in a handsome standing posture looks like Lord Venkataachalapathy of Tirupathi. A km from here is the Raaghu Sthalam at Thiru Nageswaram.
NammAzhvaar sees Oppiliappan as his father
என் அப்பன் எனக்கு ஆய் இருள் ஆய்
என்னைப் பெற்றவன் ஆய்
பொன் அப்பன் மணி அப்பன் முத்து அப்பன்
என் அப்பனும் ஆய்
மின்னப் பொன் மதில் சூழ்
திருவிண்ணகர் சேர்ந்த அப்பன்
தன் ஒப்பார் இல் அப்பன்
தந்தனன் தன தாள் நிழலே -Thiruvoimozhi 6-3-9
NammAzhvaar praised the Lord as “Oppaar Il Appan” – No one is equal to this Lord. NammAzhvaar saw the Lord of Thiru Vinnagar in 5 different forms - Ponn Appan, Mani Appan, Muthu Appan, Enn Appan and Vinnagar Appan as seen in the praise above.
Thiruthuzhaai Devi was upset that Lord Vishnu was closer to Goddess Lakshmi’s heart. Wanting to get a special treatment from the Lord, she undertook penance. A pleased Lord asked her to appear inThiru Vinnagar as Tulasi (the sacred plant). Lakshmi would then be born as Bhoomi Devi under the Tulasi tree.
Lord said that one would have to undertake penance to get the blessings of Lakshmi. However, those who seek blessings from me by showering the Tulasi garland will derive benefit equivalent to having performed the Ashwametha Yaagam. Also, those who grow the Tulasi plant in their homes will go to Vaikuntam. To this day, a Vaishnavite house is considered incomplete without the Tulasi plant. Further, Thiruthuzhaai Devi would always remain in his heart (as the Tulasi garland).
Lord Accepts food without Salt
Mirukanda Rishi’s son Markandeya wanted Goddess Lakshmi to be born as his daughter and the Lord as his son in law. He undertook penance at this place and found a young girl (Goddess Lakshmi) under the Tulasi tree. He brought her up as his daughter.
Years later, Lord Vishnu, disguised as an old Brahmin, came to his house and asked for the hand of his daughter. A shocked Markandeya, who had wanted to give his daughter to Lord Vishnu, tried to dissuade the old man with several different excuses. He pleaded that his daughter was far too young and that she did not know to manage a household. The old man was not convinced and would not move out of the house without Markandeya’s daughter.
Markandeya told the old man that his daughter did not know the art of cooking, so much so that she was not even aware of the right mix of salt. The old man promised to consume food even if it was without salt.
A hassled Markandeya prayed to Lord Vishnu for help and on opening his eyes found the Lord in his full form with conch and chakram.
As the Lord agreed to eat food without salt, he came to be called UppiliAppan (Lord without the salt). This is the only Divya Desam where food is served to the Lord without salt.
ThiruMangai Azhvaar in his praise says
வேறு கூறுவது உண்டு, அடியேன் விரித்து உரைக்கும்
ஆரே நீ பணியாது ஆடை நின் திருமனது கூறேன்
நெஞ்சு தன்னால் குணம் கொண்டு
மற்று ஓர் தெய்வம் தேர்ந் உன்னை அல்லல்
திரு வின்னகரானே - Periya Thiru Mozhi
Thirumangai Azhvaar, Poigai, PeyAzhvaar and NammAzhvaar have sung praise of the Lord in 47 paasurams
Lord is always accompanied by the Goddess on processions and he never goes out alone.
Visting OppiliAppan is equivalent to visting Tirupathi Srinivasa
Those who cannot go to Tirupathi can visit OppiliAppan in Thiru Vinnagar as a visit here is considered equivalent to visiting the Tirupathi Lord. In fact, Lord OppiliAppan considered the elder brother of Tirupathi Srinivasa.
One can combine OppiliAppan, Naachiyar Koil (Thiru Naraiyur), ThiruCherai(Saaranaathan) and Thiru Kannamangai(BhakthaVatsala Perumal) in one trip. This can be completed in ½ a day. One can begin with OppiliAppan and end with ThiruKannamangai. A car trip would cost about Rs. 250-300 from Kumbakonam and back.
Moolavar : Oppili Appan(Venkataachalapathy) East Facing Standing Posture
Azhvaars : Thirumangai Azhvaar, Poigai Azhvaar, PeyAzhvaar and NammAzhvaar
Temple time : 6am-1pm and 4pm-9pm
Priest :0435 2463385
Bus: One can take the Kumbakonam-Karaikal bus and get down at ThiruNageswaram. There are local town buses to OppiliAppan Temple. Auto: Auto from Kumbakonam bus stand to OppiliAppan temple would cost Rs. 80/-(one way)
Place to Stay: Best to stay in Kumbakonam (VPR Lodge, Siva International, Hotel Green Park, Hotel Raya’s)