When we visited Trichy for Bubboo’s mundan earlier this year, we also visited the Mariamman temple at the village of Samayapuram, in the suburbs of Trichy. It was my first visit to this particular temple, unlike many of our family members. I was charmed by the temple and the place it is located in, entirely.
Wikipedia says that the history of the temple is unclear but that, apparently, it was built some time during the 18th century. One look at this beautiful temple and its premises, and it is clear that it is ancient. The murals on the walls, the architecture, the floors – everything about the temple shows that it has stood for a long, long, long time and has seen many people come and go, for various reasons. There is a wonderful old-world aura surrounding the temple, which I have grown to love, in spite of the slight degree of commercialisation that usually surrounds such temples.
The temple is dedicated to Mariamman, or Samayapurathal as she is popularly called. A very beautiful statue of Mariamman stands within the temple, emanating an aura of power, if you understand what I mean. Photography and videography is not permitted within the temple, and even if it were, I wouldn’t have wanted to click pictures inside. There are, therefore, no pictures of the inside of the temple. I can assure you that it is extremely beautiful and charming, in a simple, old-world kind of way.
The minute you alight from your vehicle at the temple entrance, you will encounter a large line of small stalls, selling this and that. Do take a moment to glance upwards – there are some gorgeous murals on the ceiling that you are sure to be awed by. I sure was!
Mariamman, the Goddess of Samayapuram, is believed to have immense powers to cure any kind of illness that her devotees suffer from. Devotees often pray that they will offer a silver or metal replica of a body part to the Goddess if the illness that they themselves or a near and dear one is struggling with (usually afflicting the said body part) is cured by Her. Many visitors to the temple are there make these offerings to the Goddess, keeping their promise, having gotten cured of the ailments. These replicas – from arms and legs to eyes and entire bodies – are sold outside the temple, in several stalls.
Like at the Siruvachoor Mathurakali Amman temple, it is a tradition here too to offer the Goddess maav vilakku, or lamps hand-made by devotees using raw rice paste and jaggery.
Offerings of raw salt – the crystallised, unpowdered form – are also made to the Goddess here, which is supposed to cure ailments, grant wishes, and get rid of worries. Packets of raw salt are, therefore, a common sight among the shops lining the temple entrance.
The stalls here sell anything and everything – toys, flowers, coconuts, pooja paraphernalia, ice creams, cold drinks, piggy banks, imitation jewellery, and even protection for your car and house against the evil eye.
You will get to see mundans or tonsure ceremonies happening outside the temple, believed to be a way of asking for the Goddess’ blessing for the children and elders involved. You will also find babies wailing away, as their ears get pierced. You might also encounter a sacred cow or two outside the temple.
Couples who want a baby but do not have one pray to the Goddess to grant them one. These couples usually offer the Goddess a small wooden cradle, and seek her blessings to beget a child. These wooden cradles are also on sale outside the temple.
There is something very rustic, very raw, very beautiful about the way the priests here worship Mariamman and convey the devotees’ requests to Her. It is something you must experience for yourself at least once in your lifetime, I would say.
The temple is open on all days of the week, during pooja timings. Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays are believed to be special days for the worship of Mariamman, and the temple attracts huge crowds on these days.
Want to read more about this temple? Go here.
How to reach: Trichy is the nearest city. From Trichy, you will find a number of cabs and buses to get to Samayapuram. The journey shouldn’t take you more than half an hour.