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Oppaliappan Koil-News item from The Hindu

From: Vijay Srinivasan (Vijay_Srinivasan_at_praxair.com)
Date: Mon Feb 05 1996 - 08:49:50 PST

Dear Prapatti Group Members:

Here is an article on Oppaliappan Koil that appeared in The Hindu newspaper 
that may be of interest to you.

Vijayaraghavan Srinivasan


Mahasamprokshanam of Oppiliappan Koil

Hindu 02-02-1996

The Mahasamprokshanam of the Oppiliappan Koil,  popularly known as 
``Thentirupati'' and ``Boologa Vaikuntam'', will be held on  February. 
Renovation work on the Rajagopuram,  small  gopuram called  ``Katta 
Gopuram'' and Moolavar Vimanam (both Perumal  and Thayar  are in one 
sannidhi and hence there is no Thayar  vimanam in  the temple) and vimanas 
of Maniappar and Ennappar Perumal  on the sides of the temple are nearing 
completion.

According   to   Mr.   Thirunavukarasu, industrialist, Kumbakonam  who  has  
taken up the  renovation  of  the  Moolavar vimanam,  final  touches  were 
being given  to  the  gopuram  and Vimanas   and  the  work  would  be  
completed  by  February   1. Mahasamprokshanam  would  be  held  between 9  
to  9-30  a.m.  on February  9  and  Yagasala pujas would  start  from  
February  5. Mahasamprokshanam  to the temple was held last time on  July  
13, 1986.

An  important  place of worship  for  Vaishanavites,  the Oppiliappan Koil 
is located at Thirunageswaram near Kumbakonam in Thanjavur  district. Legend 
has it that Lord Mahavishnu took  the avatar  of  Venkatachalapathi  and 
came  here  to  marry  Boodevi (Mahalakshmi  has  three  avatars  Boodevi, 
Sri  Devi  and  Neela Devi).  At  Oppiliappan Koil, Mahalakshmi took  the  
avataram of Boodevi and was brought up by Markanteya. Lord Mahavishnu came 
to Markanteya  in  the  form of an old man and  asked  him  to  give Boodevi 
in marriage to him. Markanteya said that his daughter was too  young and did 
not know how to use salt properly in the  food she  cooked. The Lord said 
that He would forego salt in his  food and insisted on marrying Boodevi.

Markanteya  realising that it was Mahavishnu who came in the form of an old 
man agreed to give his daughter in marriage to Him  but laid a condition 
that like in the Ramavathar,  the  lord should  remain Ekapathinivirathan in 
this avathar also with  only Boodevi  as His wife. The Lord agreed. As He 
had sacrificed  salt for Boodevi He was called Oppiliappan. Even now no salt 
is  added in the prasadam offered during pujas to the Lord.

In  this temple there is no separate shrine for  Boodevi. She  is seated 
before the Moolavar in the sanctum sanctorum.  The diety here   is   
considered as the elder brother of Venkatachalapathi  at Tirupati and hence 
there is a  belief  that offerings  vowed  to Lord Venkatachalapathi could 
be  offered at Oppiliappan Koil. Four Alwars have sung in praise of 
Oppiliappan. Nammalvar in his song says ``Than oppillathavan Oppiliappan'' 
(He who  has no comparison). Other Alwars who sang in praise  of  the Lord  
were  Periyalvar, Poigaiyalwar  and  Thirumangaialwar.  The temple  attracts 
 pilgrims  throughout the  year  and  Ramanavami festival is celebrated 
every year in a grand manner in the months of  April-May.  Thirukalyanam  
and  Kanakabishekam  are  the  two important events in the Ramanavami festival.

One  unique feature in the Mahasamprokshanam is that  the entire  renovation 
 work  was done by  contribution  from  donors though it comes under the HR 
and CE department's control. Mr. K. Venkatraman,  Chairman  of  the Board  
of  Trustees  and  General Manager  of City Union Bank, Kumbakonam said that 
the  renovation was  done at a cost of Rs. 12 lakhs. It had also been 
decided  to make  a  golden car for the temple at a cost of Rs. 40  lakhs  
by collecting contributions from donors.

Other  projects are building a Rs. 18 lakh  guest  house, and marriage hall 
at a cost of Rs. 30 lakhs. The marriage hall is nearing  completion.  
Yagasala  Pujas would start at  6  p.m.  on February  5. The pujas would 
continue and six phases of  Yagasala pujas  would be completed till February 
9 when  Mahasamprokshanam is  to take place. Singing of Surprapatham would  
continue  every morning and devotees can also have viswarupa darisanam. 
Saxophone by Kadri Gopalnath and religious discourses have been arranged in 
connection  with  Mahasamprokshanam.  At 7 p.m.  on  February  9, procession 
 of  Sri Perumal in Garudavahana and Thayar  in  Hamsa vahana will take place.

G. SRINIVASAN