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Samayapuram Amman History – Samayapuram Mahamayi Mariamman Story – Offerings – Festivals – Different Names

The Amman (Mother Goddess) worshipped at the famous Mariamman Kovil at Samayapuram in Tamil Nadu is known as Mahamayi. The history and story of Samayapuram temple is intertwined. Her festivals and offering are unique and these can be found in her different names.

Samayapuram Amman History

A Chozha king of the region had his sister married to a king of the Ganga dynasty. He also gave the sister, a gift of a fortress in a place called Kannanoor (which was near the present day Samayapuram). In course of time, the fortress became dilapidated. It came to be known as the ‘Kottai medu’ or the ‘aranmanai medu’ (Kottai=Fortress, aranmanai = palace, medu = raised area). Neem trees covered the place. The place was abandoned for several years.


Vaishnavi Devi Of Srirangam Becomes Samayapuram Mariamman

There was a murti of Vaishnavi Devi in the temple of Srirangam, which is a few kilometres south west of Samayapuram. Vaishnavi Devi here was extremely fierce and the priests found it impossible to propitiate the ugra murti of Mother Goddess.

A Sanyasi of the temple opined that the murti of Vaishnavi Devi should be taken away from Srirangam and kept in a place that is not frequented by human beings. Accordingly, the murti was carried away. The party that carried the murti rested overnight in a place and proceeded to Kannanoor the next day. Vaishnavi Devi was left at Kannanoor in the Kottai Medu.

The goddess was pleased to reside in the neem forest of Kottaimedu and came to be called Mahamayi. Vaishnavi Devi is the Maya Shakti of Lord Vishnu. To indicate that she is Maya Shakti, she was initially called Mahamayi. The name became Mahamayi in due course. She is also called Kannathal, which name is a shrunken form of kannanoor aathaal (the mother of Kannanoor). The place where the party stayed overnight is called Inam samayapuram and on the eighth night of the annual Mariamman festival, the goddess goes to the place where she rested for a night and recaps the same incident.

History Of Samayapuram Temple

During the 17th century, the region of Trichy was part of the Madurai Nayak kingdom. An army battalion was stationed at Samayapuram, which at that point of time was called Vikramapuram. The chieftains noticed Mahaa Maayi in the neem forest. They appealed to her for victory in the wars and also vowed that they would build a temple to her if they were bestowed with her grace and victory. Vijayaranga Chokanatha Nayakkar, the grandson of Rani Mangammal is supposed to have built the temple.

The Murti Of Samayapuram Amman

Samayapuram Mariamman worshipped in the temple has eight hands. She is seated with the left leg folded and the right leg hanging down, on a high pedestal, with the five headed snake hooding over her. The right foot is resting on the heads of demons.

The eight hands hold sword, skull, trishool, bell, bow, arrow, paasa and damaru. Though she holds so many weapons in her hands, her face is full of peace and grace. Her smile captivates all.

Different Names Of Samayapuram Mariamman

Amman of Samayapuram is called by several other names –
  1. Akhilanda nayaki because she rules over the universe,
  2. Kaarana Soundhari because she is responsible for the creation and sustenance of the universe,
  3. Saambraani Vasaki because she is satisfied with the incense and fragrance of simple things,
  4. Aayiram Kannudaiyaal because she bestows all her anugraha through her eyes,
  5. Veppilaikkaari because she has the neem leaves as her identity,  
  6. Athaal because she is the mother.

Why Devotees In Millions Visit Samayapuram Amman Temple?

  1. The goddess never lets down her devotees.
  2. Samayapuram Mariamman protects from all kinds of diseases.
  3. She also gives fertility. 
  4. She provides all kinds of comfort to her children. 
  5. She provides peace and prosperity to her child who follow the path of Dharma.
Worshipping her with pongal in the Tamil month of Aadi (July – August) is an integral part of Tamil culture. The devotees build a mud stove within the temple area, and cook pongal in mud pots. The pongal is offered to Athaal as naivedya. Yet another custom, is the Maa vilakku. The original offering to Renuka as she came out of fire may be remembered here – rice, jaggery and flour. All the three are mixed and offered. The same mixture is used to make small diyas and the lamps are lit before her. She is also happy to accept lemon garland and a garland of red flowers.

Source - notes taken from an article titled Maari – the Mother by Professor Sudha Seshayyan in May 2020 issue of Vedanta Kesari.



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