Samayapuram is an important place of pilgrimage to the
devotees of Goddess Sakthi. It is one of the few popular temples
dedicated to Goddess Sakthi and she is worshipped here as
Samayapuram temple is situated on the main
Chennai-Tiruchirapalli road about 15 km from Tiruchirapalli. The
nearest railway station is in Tiruchirapalli.
Comparatively the temple is of recent origin and was
established about 300 years ago. Now an enormous number of
devotees visit this temple especially on festival days.
It is believed that that this deity was once installed at the
Sri Rangan temple near Tiruchirapalli. As the chief priest felt
that he was suffering from some malevolent effect from the
Goddess, he asked the workers at the temple to remove the idol
from the temple. The workers carried the idol northwards and put
it down in a place called Kannanoor and left it there. Some
passersby who saw this idol left unattended in the middle of the
village informed the local villagers who named the idol Kannaoor
Mariamman and established a shrine there.
It was during this period that the Vijeyanagara kings came
down South waging war. During their foray down South they camped
at Kannanoor and adopted the local deity Mariamman as their own
and made a vow that if they were successful in their campaign to
conquer the South they would build a temple at the site of the
shrine. As a fulfillment of their vow, they built a shrine for
the Goddess and the king appointed a priest from the temple at
Thiruvanaikka to perform the daily 'pooja' and brought
this temple under their management. At present a separate board
of trustees is in charge of the temple.
There are four main festivals conducted in this temple in the
Tamil months of 'Thai', 'Masi',
'Chithirai' and 'Vaikasi'. The festival conducted
in the month of 'Masi' (February/March) is called
'Poochorithal' (inundating with flowers). There is a
legend that is associated with this festival. There was an
'Asura' called Mahishasuran who had received special
boons from Lord Shiva through his penance and meditation.. He
used this power to harass the 'Devas' and other celestial
beings. So the 'Devas' approached Goddess Parvathy and
prayed to Her to save them from this menace. So Goddess Parvathy
reincarnated as Goddess Durga and killed the 'Asura'. She
was at this stage an embodiment of anger and a force of
destruction. After destroying the Asura she arrived in the jungle
near Samayapuram on the bank of the river Kaveri and found this
place suitable to calm her anger. Here she took the name of
'Kowmari', took a reddish hue, wrapped herself in a
yellow cloth, and covered herself with flowers, undertook a fast
and conducted penance in order to regain her original form. As a
result she became very kind and benevolent and is worshipped as
Goddess Mariamman at Samayapuram.
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