23 June 2009

Mariamman Temple

There are several Mariamman Shrines and Temples located around Tiruvannamalai, however I was eager to visit the large, well attended Mariamman Temple in town -- which I had been meaning to do for a while but never seemed to get around to it.

I have previously written about the major Shakti Temples located near Arunachala on many occasions; so if you are interested in finding out more about Durga Amman Koil, Pavala Kundru, Pachaimman Koil, Rajarajeshwari Koil, or the Amman Shrines located in the three major Shiva Temple Compounds; Arunachaleswarar Temple, Adi Annamalai and Arunagirinathar Temple, please use the search feature to access postings on the above.

The Goddess Mariamman is a main South India mother Goddess who is closely associated with the Hindu goddesses Parvati and Durga. She is an ancient village goddess related to rain (the Tamil word ‘mari’ means rain or change).

Each month on the night of Poornima at this Temple, there is a procession of lights in honour of the Goddess. Ladies carry oil lamps three times in girivalam around the inside of the compound.

Mariamman is the Goddess devotees pray to, to eradicate smallpox and heat-based diseases. During the summer months in South India (March to June), people walk miles carrying pots of water mixed with turmeric and neem leaves to ward off illnesses like measles and chicken pox.

Neem Tree

People also pray to Mariamman for progeny and a good spouse. The most favoured offering is "pongal" (rice and green gram), cooked in the Temple compound. The below photograph is of a lady seated in front of the cooking facilities, preparing to do a puja on behalf of her brother, an NRI visiting from South Africa, who is hoping to find a bride to bring back with him on his return to South Africa.

There are two trees (Peepal and Neem) inside this Temple compound, and outside the main gate there is another Peepal tree.

Peepal Tree

Peepal Tree outside Compound

No comments: