What's the special sweet offered to Lord Vishnu in Koviladi?
According to the Sthala Puranam or traditional story, Lord Indra prayed to Vishnu here to get rid of his sins
Koviladi (traditionally known as Thiruppernagar), a small village near Thiruchirapalli is known for its Vishnu temple dedicated to Appakoodathan, which is one of the 108 Divya Desams. Four Azhvars, namely Thirumazhisai Azhvar, Nammazhvar, Periazhvar and Thirumangai Azhvar, have extolled this deity in their Tamil verses (pasurams). It is said that Nammazhvar’s last composition was about this God and that he attained Moksha here.
The principal deity is Appakoodathan, made of stucco (sudhai in Tamil) reclining on Adisesha, with the left hand lifted up and bent at the elbow. The right hand is stretched out to bless Markandeya Rishi seated below with palms pressed together (anjali hasta) in prayer. Bhudevi is at the feet of Appakoodathan, kneeling and praying. Near Markandeya is a pot made of sudhai for a sweet (a special offering in this temple) called appam. The processional deity is worshipped as Appalarangan.
According to the Sthala Puranam or traditional story, Lord Indra prayed to Vishnu here to get rid of his sins. This is why the vimanam above the main sanctum is called Indra Vimanam, the sacred tank (pushkarini) is known as Indra Tirtham and the hill on which the main sanctum is situated is called Indra Giri.
The temple has a small gopuram which leads to the spacious outer enclosure (prakaram). There is a flight of steps reaching the mahamandapam in which is the sanctum for Goddess Lakshmi called Kanakavalli Thayar facing east and also the shrine for Garuda facing the principal deity.
Many epigraphs are seen on the outer walls of the main sanctum and also on the base of the raised veranda of the first prakaram. These donative inscriptions, mostly recording gifts of land to this temple, belong to the time of the Cholas, Pandyas and Vijayanagara dynasties. There are some later ones as well. Many festivals are celebrated in this temple, of which the most important is the annual celebration (Brahmotsavam) for twelve days in the month of Panguni.
Know your city
Koviladi is about 25 km from Thiruchirapalli on the Thiruchirapalli-Thiruvaiyaru road.
Coordinates: 10°50N 78°53E
Code of worship: The rules of the Pancharatra Agama are followed here
Sacred tree: The Sthala Vriksham is the Purasai
Chithra Madhavan on Gmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(The writer is a historian who focuses on temple architecture)