Arulmigu Bannari Mariamman Temple - History
In ancient days Tamil Nadu consisted of five division known as Chera Nadu, Chozha Nadu, Pandiya Nadu, Thondai Nadu and Kongu Nadu.Kongu Nadu was situated on the western side of Tamil Nadu. Mountains, rivers and forests added beauty to this fertile soil.Bannari located on the North West boundary of Kongu Nadu. Of late, it has become pilgrim’s paradise because devotees from far and near visit this spot. It is held in high esteem as the celebrated abode of Goddess Mariamman.Bannari Mariamman temple is situated at a distance of fourteen kilometers from Sathyamangalam in Erode District.The temple facing south and it is surrounding by thick forests with verdant vegetation on the southern, northern and western directions.The range of mountains and the hilly backdrop add charm to the abode of the deity.Beasts such as elephants, wild pigs, bears, deer, hares, and monkey are found in the surrounding forests. Beautiful peacocks and various birds are also seen here.
The oracle was heard by everybody who has assembled there. In response to that message, the villagers Erected shed with ‘KANANGU’ a kind of forest herbs. In due course, the thatched ceiling was replaced by tiled ceiling. Funds were collected from philanthropists and the temple structure underwent renovation repeatedly and, the gopuram was built above the SANCTUM – SANCTORIUM. Shobana Mantapa in front of the temple with 24-pillared mantapa with carvings of architectural beauty was constructed in 1967. The Artha Mantapa, Maha Mantapa and Shobana Mantapa enhance the beauty of the temple. Separate shrines for such gods as Vinayaka, Bommairayan, Madeswara SARUGU Mariamman and Muniyappa are found in and around the temple.
The Bommarayan temple is in Artha mandapam facing west side and the Ganesh temple is in front mandapam facing east.God Matheshwaran is placed on a slab which is on the southern side of the Goddess temple.Near the temple pond a small temple facing west is constructed for Sarugu Mariamman is placed. The kumbhabishegam for this temple was conducted on second of this month.On the west side of the temple pond a big pit is present. In that pit water will be stagnant only on rainy seasons. On other seasons water won’t stagnate there. To the left side of the way to the temple pond, God VandiMuniappar is placed on a slab. During the festival for goddess the people of Cholar caste do special poojas for this God.
One British officer in charge of forestry did not allow the people to cut tress for kundam festival. All of a sudden, he began to suffer from vomiting and dysentery. He realized his mistake and prayed to the goddess to forgive him. His health was restored by the holy ash and water fetched from the temple. Then he allowed the people to prune trees from the forests for the festival.
Another British officer who was staying in the Traveller’s Bungalow did not like singing, dancing and playing the drums on the festival days. He passed an order to put an end to such activities. The next moment he has an awesome vision in which he saw two maidens with snakes around their necks. He became aware of his mistake and prayed to the goddess to bear with his fault. Then he revoked the orders and allowed the music and dance to go on as usual.
Yet another British officer aimed his gin at the walls of the temple and fired. Consequently he lost his vision. He prayed to the goddess and begged Her for forgiveness. His vision was restored by the holy water which was fetched from the temple and sprinkled on his eyes.
One Sheit from Bangalore halted his motorcycle and enquired about the temple. The people told him that the temple was known as Amman Temple. At once, he, in a funny tine, asked them whether there any ‘AYYAN TEMPLE’ nearby with such a satirical remark he started his vehicle. But it did not move. It stood still. Then he realized that he had incurred the wrath of the Deity by his sacrilegious remark, then he begged her to pardon him for his mistake. He broke up a coconut in from of the temple in atonement for his fault and then only he could start his vehicle.
Once a lonely pilgrim wanted to stay in the temple due to the nightfall. A ferocious tiger appeared before him. It struck fear into him and he prayed to the goddess for safety and survival. By the grace of the goddess, the tiger went away from that place.
Once tents were put up in Bannari in 1954 to train the soldiers. The camp officer used to go to the temple daily to pray to the goddess. One day he found the temple closed in the evening. So, he prayed from the mantapa in front of the temple. To his surprise, he saw a flicker of bright light in the sanctum sanatorium. Next day he told about this miracle to the officers of the temple and hosted a tea-party too.
Once, during the festival day, a necromancer practiced black magic and threatened the devotees by setting a bear and a tiger on them adamantly. By the grace of the goddess the bear was turned into a stone and the tiger was turned into a sand-hill.
Likewise, numerous miracles are performed by the goddess time and again.
Transportation facilities are made available to the devotees on important days. Special buses are piled from Sathyamangalam and Coimbatore on such days as Sunday, Monday, Friday, New Moon day and festival days. Further, boarding and lodging facilities are also available for the pilgrims.