Deivanai Amman has no form, no idol, no sanctum, no pedestal and no priests. She is a Goddess of common people and resides in a place called ‘Paddaipu veedu’. Only a piece of Her pallu ( mundhanai) is kept in the place of worship. She is the family deity of many people in Karaikudi. Though Deivanai Amman is formless, she has incredible powers that can bring a great change in our life.
Deivanai Amman temple is located at Rayapuram near Ponnamaravathi ( Sivagangai district)
Deivanai Amman’s legend is a heart melting one. Many centuries before, the Chettiyar community resides in the region in and around Puddukottai. They were revered next to the King’s family. Deivanai Amman was born to one such Chettiyar couple, at Illaiyatrangudi. She grew into a beautiful and wise child. During that period, child marriage was very common, ergo Deivanai was married to a Chettiyar boy of Thevakottai, at her young age. After her Puberty she was sent to her mother in laws house to live with her husband. A few years passed by without any problem, as the days moved on the couples had ego clash and started fighting. Once Deivanai became very angry and told her husband that she wants to go to her mother’s house, Her husband who is also very angry, told her to pack her things and get out of his house. Deivanai with teary eyes seeked the help of Karrupan the cart driver to take her to her parent’s house. As it was a long journey, she stayed in one of her Brahmin friend Soodamani’s house and continued her journey in the morning.
It is an unfortunate thing for married woman to stay in their mother’s house without their husband. Even though it’s a shame Deivanai’s parents accepted her and took care of her. In the meanwhile Deivanai was found to be pregnant. Her whole family was happy and thought that, the bride groom’s parents will forgive her and accept her. There is a custom in Chettiyar community called Medicine drinking (marunthu Kudithal), conducted to the pregnant ladies, for this function the bride groom’s family and relatives will come to the bride’s house and bless her and their future generation. As per the custom Deivanai’s parents sent for Bride groom’s family to attend the function, but they refused saying that, Deivani’s child doesn’t belong to their family, and they blamed her for adultery. Stunned by their comment Deivanai was perplexed, she didn’t cry like a coward, instead with rage and courage she went to the Amman temple nearby and decided to jump into the fire pit to prove her virginity, taking the oath that, if her virginity is true and her women hood is honest let the fire god engulf her leaving the Pallu of her Saree. Which is an impossible one, but this miracle happened. Before all people gathered, Deivanai jumped into the fire pit, the next moment a part of her pallu flew out of the fire pit without any strain and proved her virginity. And later a spell came from the sky saying that Deivanai has merged with god and became divine. As it is happening here, Deivanai’s friend Soodamani came to know about these things and felt guilty for making her stay at her house on that night. She suddenly ran to the fire pit and jumped into it for becoming a reason behind Deivanai’s ill name and for the friendship she had on her. Not only she, Karuppan the cart driver, also felt guilty; because of him Deivanai was called as the adulteress. If he had not accompanied her that night, she would have been lived happily. So he also jumped in to the fire.
At last all the three jumped into the fire to prove their honesty and purity, and they all merged with gods. It is believed that this happened before 300 years ago, from that day on people took the pallu of Deivanai Amman and built a small shed for her and started to revere her as Amman.
Rayavaram Padaippu (feast): ther are many
The practice of Paddaipu prevails in South Tamilnadu especially in the regions of Pudukkotai, Karaikudi, Madurai and Ponnammaravathi. This is a feast function conducted for the dead ancestors, during this feast all the successors of these deceased people folk together and cook food without tasting it. Later they offer these foods to the deceased persons and seek their blessing. They do these rituals with high passion and reverence.
People conduct Padaipu for Deivanai Amman also, this feast is conducted once in three years in the month of August and lasts for three days. The female children belonging to Deivanai Amman’s village and the people of Nerkuppai, Devakottai, Puthuvayal, Rayavaram and Kallal come to Rayapuram Feast house and celebrate it in a grand way. The devotees prepare sumptuous meal, and Palm jaggery Pancake ( karrupati paniyaram ) for Amman Deivanai and offer it to Her with great devotion.
During the three days feast, things that are blessed by Deivanai Amman is auctioned and devotees buy them enthusiastically. It is a belief that, whatever things they buy in this feast will keep on growing in the following year. Devotees who wants to get married soon, buy Salt bucket or Silver lamp for auction. People also offer sarees, jewels to Amman Deivanai. Food will be provided on all three days.
This temple is located in Rayapuram, There is no direct bus to this temple. There are lots of buses to Ponnamaravathi from Madurai. Then, from Ponnamravathi both buses and taxis are available to this temple.