Uthyath kOdi thivaakarEnthu subagam
naanaa booshaNa booshitham
navaganach syaamam prasannaananam
laavanyaam punithim nirasthalavaNam
sree vaikunda puraathibam subathanum
boomyaah pathim samsrayeh
This place is described as "Vaikundam" and "aakasa nagari" in sanskrit literature. The naattaaru that runs here is considered as the"virajaa" river.
The thalapuraanam of this temple is discussed in bramhaanda puraaNam; the details are offered by no one other Brahmaa himself, when he was asked by his son, Sri Naraathar.
Once Thiruth Thuzhaay (thulasi) did penance and asked of the Lord , "You are bearing Lakshmi alone in your chest; I request your such special blessing and attention for me also". The Lord said "Lakshmi occupied my chest after severe penance and now she is about to incarnate on the banks of river kauveri in boolOgam in the name of boomi dEvi. You may appear there prior to her as a
thulasi plant and she will incarnate in your lap (i.e. under your shadow). "I will accept Lakshmi some days later" and since you were the support or "aathaaram" for her incarnation you will be rewarded as being very special to me in this temple; more than Lakshmi. One can attain the blessings of Lakshmi dEvi only after severe penance. But one who worships me with your ithaz(leaves), will get the effect of doing "aswamEtha yaagam". And those who dwell in your vanam as their place of living will surely attain mOksham. You will always be the garland that is presented to my chest. I will accept the thulasi maalai first and will marry Lakshmi only after that".
One hearing this thulasi appeared in ThiruviNNagaram. This is confirmed by the 53rd paasuram of Sri Nammazhwaar in thiru viruththam.
MrikaNdu Maharishi's son Sri MaarkaNdEyaa worshipped the Lord and desired that Lakshmi should appear as his daughter and the Lord should become his Son-in-Law. When he was doing theerththaadanam and shEthra yaaththirai, after reaching ThiruvinNagaram, he felt that this was the right place for getting his desire fulfilled. MaarkaNdEyaa then started a severe penance for 1000 years seeking Lakshim dEvi's blessings.
After the thousand years of penance, Lakshmi appeared as a baby under the already incarnated thulasi chedi (thulasi plant). Sri Maarkandeya felt the precense of Lakshmi as the incarnation of the baby and realised that one part of his desire had been fulfilled. He took possession of the baby and brought her up.
When this young girl reached the adolescent age or paruvam, one day (panguNi month sravana nakshathram) the Lord, appeared as an old man and asked for the hand of maarkaNdEya's daughter. maarkaNdEya replied "You are very ripe and old, my daughter is very very young and she does not even know to cook with proper salt (lavanam) contents. You may get angry and curse her if she cannot cook properly. This is not fair. You are bodily old but mentally very aware. You must forgive me and bless me but this will not work out.".
To which the old man replied, "If your daughter must cook without salt, then I will still take it as my best food, but I will not leave from here without marrying her."
Without knowing what to do , maarkaNdEyaa sought the help of the ever protecting Lord Vishnu.
It was then that he realised, using his thaBovalam, that the old man was none other than Lord Vishnu Himself.
When he opened his eyes the Lord appeared in front of him with changu and chakram as in SriVaikundam (He is seen in the same form even now in this temple) and maarkaNdEya asked for forgiveness. Sri maarkaNdEya then offered his daughter's hand in marriageand performed the kannikaathaanam of his daughter (Lakshmi) to the Lord Himself.
Since the Lord had said "I will accept the food that is not salted as my best and most desired food", this temple neyvEthiyam is always done without salt in any food.
No one should ever take anything that contains salt into this temple and the puraaNaas indicate that such persons who knowingly do so will suffer in the bottom most hell.
The name oppiliappan is as result of this puraaNam. However, nammaazhwaar called him "than Oppaar illappan", that is He is the one who has no comparison (i.e. there is neither an equivalent nor superior to this Lord - mikaiyum oppum illaathavan ).
There is also a story behind the tank in this temple. Once a King had consummated (puNarchchi) with a daughter of a saint and hence the saint cursed him to become a bird. The King lived as a bird 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 do theerth thaadanam even in the night. (In general "theerth thaadanam " in the night is not recommended by our scriptures). Since this tank has such a healing power in the the day and night, it is called "ahOraathra pushkaraNi".
Last modified on Thursday, February 1, 2001