Worshipped by King Dasharatha, father of Lord Rama, the Arulmigu Samayapuram Mariamman temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peetams and is dedicated to Goddesss Shakti. This place stands second when it comes to receiving the highest amount of devotee contributions and the number of devotees in the entire stretch of Tamil Nadu.
The temple of Arulmigu Samayapuram Mariamman is believed to be the cradle for the Shakti cult that is such a predominant part of the Tamil Bhakti tradition. The 700-year-old temple, that was worshipped in the open once upon a time around the paddy fields , is now enshrined and worshipped as a household deity in the town of Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) where the Stala Vrikasham is the Veppilai Maram (Neem Tree). Even today at night, people do hear the sounds from anklets inside the sanctum, when it is closed.
The idol of Mariamman is also made up of medicinal plants and Abhishekam is mandatorily not performed on the idol. Known for the special vibhuti or bhasma, that is given away as Prasad, this temple is the ultimate refuge for those who are suffering chicken pox, and small pox which will be relieved by the sprinkling of holy water. This Abhishekam Theertham (holy water) will be sprinkled after Pooja. People pray and visit this temple later and offer her with gold and money as thanksgiving.
The term ‘Mari’ in Sangam Tamil language means ‘rain’ or ‘change’ and ‘Amman’ means ‘mother’. Hence, she is regarded as the goddess who brings rain and removes drought and poverty by providing prosperity. She is also known with the name ‘Muthu Mari’ where the name ‘Muthu Maariamman’ is used as a poetic metaphor for the rain.
Samyapuram Mariamman Temple: Iconography
Samayapuram Mariamman idol is made of clay and medicinal plants and hence abhishekam is not performed; instead, flower abhishekam is performed. She is shown either as standing or in sitting position over a She appears, with eight hands, in either standing or seated position on the Lalitasana throne and kirtimukha mask with her left leg folded and right leg hanging down, with a five headed snake on the top, and the right foot is resting on the heads of demons. In her 8 hands she holds sword, skull, Trishool, bell, bow, arrow, Paasa and Damaru. Her face, despite holding powerful weapons in her hand, exudes peace, grace and a captivating smile.
Samyapuram Mariamman Temple: Architecture
The temple architecture is made of sturdy stones and carvings, and looks traditional with a beautiful gopuram. A small idol is placed in front of the clay idol, to which you can perform abhishek and puja.
Samyapuram Mariamman Temple: History And Significance
Vaishnavi Devi Of Srirangam Becomes Samayapuram Mariamman
Vaishnavi Devi is the name Mariamman was previously called by and was originally installed in the temple of Srirangam, which is very close to Samayapuram. The priests who were unable to bear Vaishnavi Devi’s extremely ferocious presence shifted her to a place that not many human beings visited . She was taken to Kannanoor and placed in the Neem forests of Kottaimedu and came to be called Mahamayi.
During the 17th century an army battalion of the Madurai Nayak kingdom was stationed at Samayapuram, otherwise known as Vikramapuram. Noticing the Mahamayi in the forest, they prayed to her their victory and enshrined her in a temple with the help of Vijayaranga Chokanatha Nayakkar.
Samyapuram Mariamman Temple: Festivals
Pushpa Yagotsavam (Flower festival) will be celebrated during the month of March. Rathotsavam (Car festival) will be celebrated in Chitirai month. Angapradakshinam will be performed daily at this temple.
The festivals are celebrated to please the goddess Mariamman for sufficient rain for their location in order to cultivate crops in a fertile way. It goes on for 11 days, in the Tamil month of Panguni up to Puratasi for about 11 days. As per this tradition , 9 grains are given to each household by the village heads, and it is watered for 9 days till they sprout and given back to the temple accompanied by a festive celebration.
During the tamil month of Aadi (April, May) Kambam festival is celebrated in various villages according to their tradition as it is the hottest month (Agni Natchathiram) they pray for making the place cool with rain.
Thai Poosam Festival
For 11 days, the Thai Poosam festival is celebrated with great zeal during which the procession of the goddess is taken out on different rathams. On the tenth day, on Thai Poosam, the deity is taken in a procession from Samayapuram to North Cauvery near Srirangam in a glass palanquin for Theerthavari (taking a bath), after which the God Sriranganathan presents her with Seer Varisai (gifts). She is back on the eleventh day to Samayapuram. The devotees light lamps made of flour and ghee for 15 days during the Thai Poosam festival (January-February).
The temple celebrates the Poochoriyal Festival in the month of Maasi. This is the ritual for sprinkling beautiful flowers on the Deity. This festival goes on for four weeks. This is when Goddess Mariamman observes a hunger fast for 28 days, for the welfare of all . Offerings to the goddess during this period are in liquid form.
The Chithirai Ther (chariot) Festival
The Chithirai Ther (chariot) festival takes place in the Chithirai-Panguni months. During this event, the Goddess is seated on a wooden chariot and she takes a Teppam ride ( float).
The Panchaprakaram is celebrated in the months of Chithirai-Vaikasi for 15 days. Maha Abishekam takes place on the first and tenth day,. The temple celebrates the Navaratri festival in the month of Purattasi from Mahalaya Ammavasai till the ninth day.
Mariamman temples also typically involve Samiyattam wherein through a devotee (usually a female) Goddess Mariamman chooses to talk to help and bless the gathered devotees. The Holy days for the deity are Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, when thousands of devotees flock to the temples .
Samyapuram Mariamman Temple: Prayer Rituals
The Brahmin priests need not necessarily be appointed for worship for this temple as this temple allows non- brahmins and sometime even women priests to worship.
Flower garland and lime garland along with holy ash, Chandan and Kumkum are used for decorating the goddess. The predominant offerings are Pongal, Koozh, Porridge, oiled rice, fruits, flowers, cakes, sugar, incense, camphor, milk, cured, tender coconut water, honey, abhishekam etc.
Most important days to worship Goddess are Sunday, Tuesday and Friday although the temple is open all 365 days of the year.
Samyapuram Mariamman Temple: Miraculous Powers Of Mariamman
The deity is also worshipped as the fertility goddess who blesses the family with the wellbeing or self and spouse, health, long life, good husband/wife, successful marriage, progeny, and overall affluence to the family.
As per the religious texts, Goddess Mariamman is known to be the one who protects the village up to its boundaries and not just beyond the border.
As per local legends and the experience of scores of devotees, Samayapuram Mariamman has tremendous powers to cure illness. It is believed that replicas of various body parts should be made of silver or steel and then put in the Hundi or donation boxes.
Devotees make it a ritual to buy metallic replicas of various body parts, made of silver or steel, and put them in the donation boxes. This is bound to cure that body part of the devotee who is afflicted and which he has donated in the form of the replica.
One more ritual is to offer a lamp Maavilakku made of rice flour, jaggery, and ghee. Measles-stricken devotees arrive here to stay till they are cured. Theertham is sprinkled over them for a speedy recovery. They stay in separate resting halls for this purpose. Those with disabilities and impaired vision have experienced that their afflictions have vanished without needing surgery. Thanksgiving is done through tonsuring, archanas, abhishekam and ear piercing.
Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Boldsky does not believe in or endorse any superstitions.
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Story first published: Saturday, September 17, 2022, 13:58 [IST]