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Arulmigu Oppiliappan Temple Structure, Holy Tank, Festivals, Annadanam Details

About Oppiliappan Temple Structure:

It is named as Suddhananda, meaning "pure happiness" . Devotees who worship this vimana(tower) derive immence and unalloyed happiness. Note that the vimana in Tirumala Tirupati is named as Ananda vimana, whereas here it is Suddhananda Vimana.

Desika's sannidhi is located near the sancturn sanctorum. On the sides of the inner-prakara (Corridor), Anjaneya is on the south, and Alwars' and Sri Rama's sannidhis are located on the northern side. On the eastern side is Sri Ramanuja.

Outside the main temple, on the southern side is the shrine for Lord Maniappan and on the northern side is Ennappan and also the holy birth spot (avatara sthala) of Bhoomidevi. Garuda's shrine is located right opposite the main temple. Just on the southern side of the main entrance, dancing Krishna in a niche welcomes us all with a bewitching smile.

Various other Mandapas:

One beautiful marble mandapa is located on the western side in the inner prakaram, where the deities rest for a while, before coming out during pancha-parva utsavam. Another marble mandapa is located on the northern side where dolotsavam is performed for the deities. Adjoining this is a shrine for Rama, Lakshmana, site and Hanuman, and then comes the sacred bed chamber (Tiruppalliarai), full of beautiful mirrors, where during festivals, the Lord and His consort rest during nights.

During the two Brahmotsavams in Panguni (March-April) and Purattasi (Sept-Oct), it is a divine sight to watch and worship the god and goddess in this room full of mirrors. One Yaga-sala for performing religious rituals is also provided. The temple includes avahana mandapa and a library, and another mandapa with 8 carved pillars on the banks of the pushkarini (holy-tank), where the annual float-festival takes place during Jan-Feb. To the south of the Garuda shrine is the huge, spacious Kotimanadapa, used for several holy purposes. The annual Kalyana Utsavam is performed here, followed by music and dance programmes. Prarthana Kalyana Utsavams are also performed here.

Two huge marriage halls belonging to the temple, are available in front, where marriages tec., can be conducted for a nominal fee. There is also a rest - house containing 5 rooms, which is available for use by pilgrims at cheap rent. There are 2 mandapas at the end of the Sannidhi street. One houses a small chariot and the other for use during the big chariot festival.

Pristine Gardens:

There is a small garden by the side of the outer prakara of the temple. There is also a much bigger garden about 1/2 km to the south of the temple, where tulasi and flowers are grown in abundance for weaving garlands daily for the deities. A big mandapa is located in this garden, where deities rest during the day in summer, during the Vasantotsavam celebrated for 6 days in May-June every year.

Holy waters Tank / Pushkarini:

The pushkarini (temple Tank) here is known as 'Ahoratra pushkarini" , meaning that bathing is specially permissible here both during day and night. Normally according to sastras, bathing in holy waters is not permitted during nights. But nowadays bathing is permitted here, only when the temple is kept open for dharsan.

Ahoratra Pushkarini:

Once a learned brahmin by name Devasarma was overcome by passion and had a forceful union with the daughter of Jaimini rishi. On her tearful complaint to her father, the rishi cursed him to become a krauncha bird.

It-was then the sinner repented and begging pardon, requested the stage not to impose the curse. The sage relented and advised that while he could not withdraw the curse already pronounced, as a bird he might live in the branch of a tree overlooking the holy pushkarini at this place. A cyclone would blow and break the branch of the tree, which would, along with the bird, fall into the holy waters. Due to the bird's contact with the holy waters, he will be released from the curse and regained his original form. Not only that, he was also escorted to Sri Vaikuntam in a divine chariot. Then the messengers of Varuna stopped him and demanded justification for going to Vaikuntam, since he had committed a further sin by dipping in the holy waters during the night, which is forbidden by the sastras. At this, the messenger from Vaikuntam intervened and clarified that this was an exception and bathing was specially permitted in the pushkarini at this holy place, both during day and night and the pushkarini at this holy place, both during day and night and the pushkarini was herefore named as Ahoratra pushkarini meaning "Day and Night Holy Tank". Thus saying, th Lord's messengers took the brahmin to Sri Vaikuntam. Anyone who bathes in the pushkarini acquires a lot of merit ( punya).

There are other holy tanks as well, outside the temple. Sarnga tank to the south-west of the temple is consiered holier than Dhanushkodi. Surya tank to the west of the temple has an interesting legend. Siva once plucked one of the heads of Brahma (who had five heads earlier) and to get rid of the sin, he bathed in the holy waters of Ahoratra Pushkarini and is still doing penance here. Since Surya(Sun) repaired this tank, it is called Surya tank.

In the north-east of the temple is indra tirtha (tank), so named because Indra washed off his sin of molesting Ahalya, by bathing in these holy waters. To the south of this is Brahma tirtha, so named because Brahma bathed in this tank and did penance, because of which he became what he was (Brahma).

All these tanks outside the temple do not exist now. Either they have become completely dry or they could not be located.

To the south of the temple run three holy rivers, even now:-
1) Dakshina Ganga (ganga of the south), now named as Nattaru
2) Dakshina Yamuna, now known as Arasalar.
3) Dakshina Godavari, now known as Kirtiman river.

Other Holy Waters:

Sarnga Tirtham, Surya Tirtham, Indra Tirtham and Brahma Tirtham are situated outside the temple according to puranas. These are now dry and not fit for bathing.

Oppiliappan Temple Festivals Details:

Prarthana Festivals:

On the specific requests of the devotees, in fulfilment of their vow, Kalyana utsavam, Garuda Sevai, Golden chariot, Brahmotsavam, Dolotsavam, Nityaaradhana, mirror-room seva,and Darbar seva are performed at the appropriate timings. Besides, Ttirrumanjanam (holy bathing) of the Moolavar deity, Utsavar deity, Rama etc., is also done on requestsfropm devotees. The relevant fees and timings for these various prathana festivals are given at page 5 in this book. Further details can be had from the authorities of the temple.

Sri Rama Navami:

Sri Ramanavami is celebrated for 10 days on a grand scale at this temple, with music and dance performance. ON the concluding day, kanakabhishekam and Rama Pattabhishekam are conducted on a grand and majestic scale, attended by thousands of devotees.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE UTSAVAS :

1. Vaikasi (May-June):

Vasanta Utsavam or the spring festival for 6 days at the Nandavanam (garden), culminating on sravanam day.

2.Avani (Aug - Sep):

Pavitrotsavam (Purifying festival) for 5 days, ending on Sravanam day, when there is early morning garuda save of the Lord.

3. Purattasi (Sept - Oct):

Brahmotsavam for 9 days. Little Chariot (Goratham) on the last day. Sravanam.

4.Aippasi(Oct-Nov):

Kalyana Utsavam for 12 days commencing from Sravanam, when the holy marriage of god and goddess is celebrated.

5. Margazhi (Dec-Jan):

Adhyayana Utsavam. Day Utsavam for 10 days. Night Utsavam for 10 days. Plus 2 days. Total 22 day festival.

6.Thai(Jan - Feb):

Float festival for 5 days culminating on Sravanam.

7.Panguni (March-April):

Brahmotsavam for 9 days with Big chariot festival on the 9th-Day Sravanam.
Lord Narayana readily granted the boons.The lord appeared in this place in Panguni sravanam and married Bhoomi Devi in Aippasi Sravanam and every year, these are celebrated as grand festivals.

SRAVANA DEEPAM AND SRAVANA VRATAM:

Every month, Sravanam day is celebrated in a grand manner in this temple, when thousands of devotees congregate and worship the Lord. The Sravana Deepam function, Which is held at about 11 a.m. on that day is a big event that atracts pilgrims from all over the country and abroad. Taking only saltless food on that day is regarded as Sravana Vratam.

Nammazhvar exclaims in his verse, singing the glory of this Lord, that he has no equal and so, the deity here is called "Oppiliappan".

The Pushkarini (Temple Tank) here is known as "Ahoratra Pushkarini", meaning that bathing is specially permissible here, both during day and night. The vimana, meaning " pure happiness ".

The Lord here graciously grants all desires of His devotees, like long life, sound health, abundant wealth, successful marriage and pleasing progeny. As a token of their abundant gratitude to the beneolent Lord, the devotees offer several things in cash or kind and conduct various prarthana festivals.

Oppiliappan Temple Annadanam Details:

The Honorable Chief Minister's Annadanam Programme is Successfully being conducted in this temple and about 100 pilgrims are being feed every day. The annual deposit for feeding the pilgrims for one day is Rs.15,000/- and exemption is available for donations under Sec. 80G (2) (9) (V) of the Income Tax Act.

Devotees can send their donations for all these services Annadanam, Karunai Illam, Ghoshala and Elephant Maintenance.

M.os., Drafts. Cheques & all Donations may be sent to :
ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER/EXECUTIVE OFFICER,
Arulmigu Oppliyappan Temple
Thirunageswaram - 612 204
Tanjore District.
Phone : 0435-2463385,2463906
E-Mail : uppiliappan@tnhrce.org

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