Thiruvinnagar Venkatachalapathy Temple is otherwise popularly known as Uppiliappan temple. This temple is the 60th temple of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. located in a village in the outer range of Kumbakonam near Thirunageswaram, the shrine is dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu. It is glorified as the Divya Prabandha and the temple is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and the building was initiated in the 8th century by the medieval cholas and later Thanjavur Nayaks.
Uppiliappan has appeared for Hindu gods Brahma, Bhoomadevi, and Shiva and sage Markandeya is been believed. Three yearly festivals and six daily rituals are observed in the temple. The most prominent chariot festival is celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni which falls between March and April. Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu administers and maintains the temple. One of the eighteen famed Hindu scriptures Brahmanda Purana has the history of the temple.
The temple is about 1000-2000 years old. The Rajagopuram is enshrined within a granite wall is the gateway tower of five tiers measuring about 50 ft tall with elaborate colored carvings having all shrines. The images of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman is housed in the temple shrine which is adjoined with the hall. Covered with mirrors fully is the sacred bed chamber known as the Tiruppalliarai is located next to it. The temple has its own library, festival vehicles are housed in a large hall, and an eight carved pillar hall on the banks of the temple tank, where the float-festival is celebrated annually. Many paintings of Dasavatar are laid around the area of the pradakshinam and it also has a garden and a gosala.
Nivedhanas are prepared without salt in this temple, it is believed salt taken inside the temple is a sin. As the daughter of Markanteya was too young to cook food when he ordered his daughter to cook and that she had no idea how to use salt in cooking. To this act did by his daughter the Lord said that he would not let salt in his food. Hence the prasadam is prepared without the addition of salt in the temple. Prasadams such as Curd Rice, Tamarind Rice, Pongal, Vada, Chakkarai Pongal, Murukku, Adhirasam, are offered to Lord.
‘Markandeya Kshetram’, ‘Tulasi vanam’ and ‘Vaikunta Nagaram’, are the various names of this place. Oppiliappan is considered equivalent to Tirumala , therefore, it is called as ‘Thenn Tirupathi’ meaning Tirupathi of South. Tulasi devi wish was satisfied in this place and Tulasi leaf got its importance along with pleasant smelling flowers and its role of beautifying Lord Mahavishnu with garland and this place is also known as “Tulasivanam”.
Amidst the music of percussion instrument called ‘tavil’ and pipe instrument called nathaswaram, a group of priests recites the ‘Nalayira Divya Prabandham’ Verses. Early in the morning amidst Vedic chantings the processional idols of Uppiliappan and Bhumidevi are brought to the temple car post. An avatar of Vishnu is the festival associated with Rama known as the Ramanavami which is a ten days celebration with dance and music performance and on the concluding day, kanakabhishekam (ablution with gold for the festival image) and Rama Pattabhishekam takes place. Every month in the temple, Sravan Deepam festival is celebrated on the day of Tamil star of Thiruvonam and pilgrims observe fast called Sravana Vratham that day by consuming only unsalted food.