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 Mariamman.
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.