This temple is located at PunnaiNallur which is 20 km away from Tanjore.
The legend has it that, in the year of 1680, the king Venkoji Maharaja Chakrapathi went on a pilgrimage tour to Samayapuram Mariyamman temple. In the night Goddess Mariamman appeared in his dream and told him that, She is residing in Punnai forest which is 5 km away from Tanjore. The very next moment he ran towards the forest and was stunned to find a white anthill standing majestically. Anthills are believed to be the residing place of Amman, so the King built a temple around this anthill and does poojas regularly.
Some years after Sri Sadasiva Brahamendar, carved Goddess Mariamman out of that Anthill and also placed a powerful mysterious chakra. It is a belief that only after the insertion of the Chakra, the Goddess got incredible powers.
Later, the present temple was built by the Marattas in 17 the century. This temple has now became one of the pilgrimage spots in India. People especially from North India and South India visit this temple to complete their journey of enlightenment.
This temple is pregnant with many mysteries and faiths. As the prime deity is made out of sand, anointment (abishekam) is not done daily. All the daily poojas are dedicated to the Goddess Vishnu Durga in the pedestal. Gold and Silver shrouds are donned to the Goddess on certain auspicious days.
Once in every five years for 48 days, Thil anointment (abishegam) is done to the sand idol. During this 48 days, devotees come in great mass. There will be many special prayers and chanting to Lord Amman.
Yet another incredible thing is that, during summer, the idol perspires, signs of perspiration can be seen on the idol’s body. To till date the reason behind this perspiration is a hard nut crack.
The daughter of Tulaja Raja, was affected by an incurable disease and lost her eye sight. She was brought to this temple and was laid before Goddess Amman. After continuous hours of praying and chanting, the princess was restored with the eye sight. Through this incident, goddess’s fame has reached beyond the horizon.
Devotees visit this temple to get rid of all their diseases, poverty and sorrows. They offer mud replicas of body parts which has to be healed, sweet pudding, red saree and flowers to the goddess. Some also donate money for the maintenance of the temple and for Annadhanam (free food).
Festivals at Punnainallur Mariamman Temple:
Four hours Poojas (Nalu Kala Pooja) takes place every day, all Fridays and Sundays are very auspicious. Unmarried women, women with serpent sin, and any other sins visit this temple on every Tuesday/ Friday during Ragu Kalam and light lemon lamps. Apart from this annual feast, Punguni Uthram and Thirukalyanam are also celebrated.
This temple is situated at a distance of 5 km from Tanjore. Buses are available from Tanjore to this temple. You can also hire auto or taxi.
Nearby railway station is in Tanjore.