Sri Masaniamman kovil Temple

Nestled on the slopes of the Western Ghats, just 8km from the Kerala border, is Sri Masaniamman kovil, home to the now-popular Sri Masaniamman temple.
Sri Masaniamman is not the regular black idol we normally associate with the Mother Goddess.  She is a gigantic 4.5m (15 feet) long idol, painted in choice colors and lying on her back, her head slightly raised.  She has four hands, two placed on the ground, with a drum and trident each, while the two raised above have a skull and snake each.

She has two canine teeth protruding from each side of Her lips.  Massive renovation, including the construction of a Rajagopuram, point out to the shine's popularity in recent years.

In front of the reclining goddess is a small serpent-like stone, known as the Neethi kal (Stone of Justice).  People who have lost their belongings/property or are being harassed by their foes, smear red chilli paste on this stone.  The powerful deity, it is said, helps her devotees find their way out of trouble.  Many of them write about their problems on a piece of paper, which is then placed on the deity's trident by the priest.  It is said that within 19 days the Goddess responds to their prayers.  The rush of devotees is particularly heavy on Tuesdays and Fridays.  The Kundam or fire-walking festival is held on the 17th day after Pournami in the month of Thai (January-February).

According to the sthala purana, the region around here was ruled by Nanan, a chieftain.  He was a sort of a tyrant, with special attachment for a mango grove on the banks of the Aaliyar.  Nobody was allowed to touch the mangoes, or even the leaves.  It is said that a young woman, who was bathing in the river, found a fallen mango floating in the waters and, not able to resist temptation, ate it.  Nanan was furious when he came to know of it.  The woman was brought before him ad sentenced to death.  No amount of pleading from either the woman or har family members would make him relent.  The villagers then rose in revolt against the ruler and killed him in battle.  They also erected a statue, in lying form, in memory of the executed girl. Since the idol was in a graveyard (smasanam), She began to be worshiped as Sri Smasani Amman.  In course of time, the limestone and sand idol became Sri Masaniamman, and the area began to be called Sri Masaniamman Kovil.

It is also said that Sri Rama visited this place, and stayed in the graveyard, while in the graveyard, while searching for sita.  Another version has it that it was Rama who modelled the Goddess in clay, thus earning Her grace before setting out to Lanka.

Sri Masaniamman temple appears to be the sole reason for human habitation here. The temple is off the main highway, and is just a five minute walk from there.

Hot to get there:  Sri Masaniamman kovil i 15km southwest of Pollachi, on the road to Kerala.  It is 60km from Coimbatore.  Pollachi Junction is on the Dindigul via Palani-Palakkad train route.  Buses ply at regular intervals to and from Pollachi, and stop right in front of the lane leading to the temple.  Accommodation:  Pollachi or Coimbatore.

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