Punnainallur Mariamman Temple

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Location : Punnainallur, 6 Miles From Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Presiding Deity: Mariamman
Built By: Venkoji Maharaja Chatrapati
Festivals Celebrated: Floating Festival In September-October, Brahmotsavam In August-September

Punnainallur Mariamman Temple is an important temple situated at Punnainallur, 6 miles from Thanjavur. The temple is built in the typical south Indian style with Gopurams and Mandapams (also spelt as Mandapa). Inside the Mandapam there are depictions of the different forms of Ashta Shakti viz., "Gaja Lakshmi", "Veera Lakshmi", "Soubhagya Lakshmi", "Santana Lakshmi", "Dhana Lakshmi", "Dhanya Lakshmi", "Vidya Lakshmi", and "Karunya Lakshmi".

The Legend Behind The Origin Of The Temple
It is believed that before waging a war with the demon Tanja of Thanjavur, Lord Shiva placed the Ashta Shaktis (eight powers) one at each of the eight directions, and the one stationed at the eastern direction is now the presiding deity of this temple.

Venkoji Maharaja Chatrapati (1676 - 1688), a Maharashtra king of Tanjore during his pilgrimage to "Samaya- Puram", where there is a famous temple dedicated to Kali, had a dream in which Mariamman appeared and told him -that she (the idol) was in a forest of Punna trees at a distance of about 3 miles from Tanjore. The King rushed to the spot indicated to him and recovered the idol from the jungle.

A temple was constructed at the place in 1680 and the idol was installed, so the deity of this temple is known as "Punnainallur Mariamman". It is said that the daughter of Tulaja Raja (1729-35) of Tanjore, who lost her eyesight in an illness, regained it on offering worship at this temple.

The kings who ruled Tanjore took great interest in the development of the temple and they vied with one another in constructing Gopurams, Mandapams, Entrances, etc., to the temple.

Festivities
In the month of 'Purattasi' (September-October) the 'Floating Festival' takes place in the holy tank located at the temple. Brahmotsavam takes place in the months of 'Adi-Avani' (August-September). Sundays are considered to be the most auspicious days for worshipping the Goddess, when huge crowds mainly consisting of womenfolk and children pay their homage.

HOW TO GET THERE

Air: The nearest airport is at Tiruchirappalli (Trichy), 58-km away.
Rail: The nearest railway station is at Thanjavur, which is directly connected by rail to Tiruchirappalli, Madurai and Chennai.
Road: Tourists can access Punnainallur by road from Thanjavur, which is just 6 miles away. Regular government bus services are available from Thanjavur.

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation is available at the moderate class and small budgeted hotels, lodges, Devasthanam cottages and choultries in Thanjavur.



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