Appakudathan, Koviladi, Thanjavur
Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Appakudathan||Ambal / Thayar:||Indiradevi, Kamalavalli|
|Deity:||Perumal||Historical name:||Tirupper Nagaram|
|Timing:||8.30 to 12 & 4.40 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Divya Desam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Koviladi||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tiruchirappalli (28.5 km)||Thanjavur (35.2 km)|
|Ariyalur (48.1 km)||Perambalur (54.5 km)|
Koviladi is located a few kms east of Tiruchirappalli, on the road to Thanjavur.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Koviladi (also worshipped as Indragiri and Palaasavanam) is a Pancha Ranga Kshetram – 5 important temples where Lord Vishnu is worshipped as Ranganathar. These temples are Adi Rangar at Srirangapatnam, Ranganathar at Srirangam, Appalarangan (or Appakudathan) at Koviladi, Parimala Ranganathar at Indalur, and Trivikrama Perumal at Sirkazhi (referred to as Vatarangam). In some places, the Sarngapani temple at Kumbakonam is mentioned in place of Sirkazhi.
Koviladi gets its name because Appaala Rangathar (the presiding deity) measured the steps (adi) for the Srirangam temple (Kovil). Lord Appakkudathaan is in sayana kolam, holding a pot in one hand.
Uparicharavasu, a king, killed a brahmin by mistake when he was hunting a rogue elephant. Repenting for this act, which attached Brahmahathi dosham to him, the king renounced his throne and wandered around, finally reaching Tirupper Nagar. (In another version of the puranam, Sage Durvasa cursed the king for not recognizing him during the former’s visit to the kingdom. As a penance, the king was advised to feed 10,000 brahmins every day.) Lord Siva appeared before him and told him to worship Lord Vishnu at this sthalam, and so the king built a temple for Lord Vishnu. Every day after worship, the king offered food – including Appam and Payasam – to brahmins. One day, Lord Vishnu came to the sthalam in the form of a hungry old brahmin. The king asked him to wait till other brahmins assembled, but the brahmin said he was too hungry, and so the king served him food. To the king’s surprise, the brahmin ate all the prepared food and even wanted more, so the king told him to take some rest while more food was prepared. In the meantime, Sage Markandeya was advised by Lord Siva to seek Lord Vishnu in the form of an old brahmin at Tirupper Nagar. He found the latter lying down holding a pot of appams (appam-kudam) in his hand. The sage paid his respects and Lord Vishnu retained his original form and blessed the sage, and also blessed the king and removed his dosham.
Accordingly, the moolavar here is in the reclining posture, holding the appam kudam, and blessing Sage Markandeya. The temple Teertham is called Mruthyu Vinasini Theertham, representing the sage’s longevity boon. This is also the only Divya Desam temple where appam is offered as neivedyam.
Sthala puranam indicates that Sage Markandeya prayed to Lord Vishnu here to overcome his fate of having to go with Yama at the age of 16 (similar to at Tirukkadaiyur Amritaghateswarar temple).
Nammazhvar attained moksham at Koviladi after singing the last of his pasurams about Appala Rangan. This is one of the 7 temples where Tirumazhisai Azhvar sings of of Lord Vishnu in reclining posture. Periazhvar sung 33 pasurams on this temple. Tirumangaiazhvar has also sung pasurams, including one where he says that even after worshipping Pundarikaksha Perumal at Tiruvellarai, he could not forget Appakudathan!