Uppiliappan Temple, Thirunageshwaram – Temple Architecture
The temple has a five-tiered Rajagopuram (the gateway tower) and enshrined within a granite wall. The complex contains all the shrines and water bodies associated with it. The Sahasradhari plate and pot (kudam) are made of gold for performing Thirumanjanam (ablution) to the presiding deity. The temple also maintains golden sword, diamond crown and gold arm guard for the image of Hanuman. The shrine over the sanctum is plated with gold.
The main shrine of the temple houses the image of Oppiliappan in standing posture and it also houses the images of Bhoomidevi and sage Markandeya. The vimana is called Suddhananda, meaning "pure happiness".
It is named as Suddhananda, meaning "pure happiness”. Devotees who worship this vimana (tower) derive immense and unalloyed happiness. Note that the vimana in Tirumala Tirupati is named as Ananda vimana, whereas here it is Suddhananda Vimana.
The Desika shrine is located near the sanctum sanctorum. On the sides of the first precinct, the shrine of Anjaneya is located on the southern, and Alwars and Sri Rama on the northern and Ramanuja on the eastern sides. The shrine for Maniappan is located in the second precinct in the southern side, while the shrines of Ennappan and the holy birth spot of Bhoomidevi are located in the northern side. Garuda's shrine is located right opposite the sanctum and right behind the temple mast. The shrine of dancing Krishna is located on the southern side of the main entrance.
A marble hall is located on the western side in the inner precinct acts as the resting hall for the festival deities during festivals. Dolothsavam festival is celebrated in another marble hall in the northern side of the temple. Adjoining the hall, there is a shrine where the images of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman are housed. The sacred bed chamber called Tiruppalliarai, covered full of mirrors is located next to it, 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.
A Yaga sala for performing religious rituals is present in the temple.
Vahana Mandapam & Library:
The temple includes a vahana mandapa and a library. Vahana Mandapam is used to house Vahanas of Lord. Religious books are preserved in this Library.
Eight Pillared Hall:
A hall with eight carved pillars is located on the banks of the temple tank (pushkarani), where the annual float-festival is celebrated during January - February.
The Kodimandapam, located to the south of the Garuda shrine, is used for several day-to-day religious practises. The annual Kalyana Utsavam festival is performed in the hall amidst music and dance programmes. Prarthana Kalyana Utsavams are also performed here.
Outside the main complex, the temple maintains two huge marriage halls 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.
There is a garden around the third precinct of the temple and a much bigger garden about 0.5 km (0.31 mi) to the south of the temple, where Tulasi and flowers are grown in abundance for weaving garlands daily for the deities. A hall in the garden is used for resting deities during the Vasantotsavam festival celebrated for six days in May–June every year.
There is a small 'Thulabharam' to the right side before you enter the sanctum sanctorum. Devotees can offer anything as per their vow except salt.
Oppiliappan stands upto 8 feet tall in the center. Below him Bhoomidevi faces north in a kneeling posture while Markandeya Maharishi who has the boon of retaining his age as 16 forever is the position to perform Kannikadaanam (i.e) ready to perform marriage to his daughter.
Left hand of Oppiliappan perumal contains the inscription "Maam Ekam Saranam Vrija" a made of diamonds which is a verse form Bhagavad-Gita instructing the whole mankind to devote their pure souls into his lotus feet to attain Salvation.
The Moolavar of this Kshetram is Oppiliappan. He is also called with the name "Uppiliappan". The Moolavar is found in standing posture facing East direction. Lord has given Prathyaksham for Markandeya Maharishi, Lord Garuda, River Kaveri, lord of Dharma.
The Thayaar found in this sthalam is Bhoomidevi Naachiyaar.
· Peyalwar - 2 Paasurams
· Nammalvar - 11 Paasurams
· Thirumangai - 34 Paasurams
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It is not clear from the inscriptions and records as to when the temple was initiated, but there are inscriptions from the Medieval Cholas period indicating generous gifts to the temple. There are two inscriptions recorded from the Naganathar Temple in Tirunageswaram. The epigraph numbered 211 of 1911 on the northern wall of the central shrine indicates gift of gold jewel worked in gems and pearls to the temple from the Chola king Parakesarivarman alias Rajendra Chola I (1012–44 CE).
The second inscription numbered 218 of 1911 on the southern wall of the same shrine indicates a gift of land to the temple in the fourteenth year of the Chola king Rajaraja Rajakesarivarman I.
Stone inscriptions here refer to the temple as Tiruvinnagar - Tirunageswaram and Uyyakondar Valanadu. This place is also called 'Vaikunta Nagaram', 'Markandeya Kshetram', and as 'Tulasi vanam'
Devasthanam’s record mentions Oppiliappan as Sri Venkatachalapathi. Oppiliappan is considered to be the elder brother of Sri Venkatachalapathi. If anyone is unable to visit Tirumala to offer their offerings, they can visit Oppiliappan and it is considered equivalent of doing that in Tirumala itself. Hence it is also known as 'Then Tirupathi' (Tirupathi of South).
Left hand of Oppiliappa perumal contains the inscription "Maam Ekam Saranam Vrija" made of diamonds which is a verse form Bhagavad-Gita instructing the whole mankind to devote their pure souls into his lotus feet to attain Salvation.