(Last Updated on : 13-08-2010)
The temples of Salem District are mainly known for their characteristic mariamman Goddesses and festivals. Salem district is a popular seat of textile industries and its archetypal temples. There are several mariamman temples in Salem district.
Mariamman is a Hindu Goddess; an incarnation of Shakti and majority of temples of Salem District boasts the shrines of this Goddess. Every year around July the city celebrates Mariamman festival for a fortnight. During this festival, Goddess Mariamman is decorated with jewellery and flower chariots, taken around the city at midnight, and then brought back to the temples of Salem District. On the first important day of the festival, people walk on fire and on the second day, colourful parades of fancy dress is seen across the district. This festival is celebrated at temples of Salem District at the locations of Fort, Shevapet, Ammapet, Gugai, Andheripati and others. Shevapet Mariamman temple is one of the most famous temples of Salem District and carries the biggest one among the cars of Amman temples across the state. This festival is celebrated for a week. The Kottai Marriamman temple is very famous not only in Salem but throughout Tamil Nadu. Kanjamalai Subramanyar Temple is located at Kanjamalai in Salem District. The temples of Salem District are associated with the great saints known as Sidhars. According to myth, a devotee of Lord Shiva, Kanjamalai Siddhar, attained a formless form here.
Devotees usually visit temples of Salem District after having a bath in the waters of the streams traversing the Kanjamalai. Daily pujas start in the temples of Salem District with Suprabhata Sevai in the morning. Skanda Temple, located at Skandasramam is an honoured temple of Salem District. Shantananda Swami founded the place Skandasramam, also called as Skandagiri, in the latter half of the 20th century. The temple is dedicated to Skanda (Muruga) and Mahishasuramardhini deities. Shrines for Navagrahas along with their individual consorts are situated in the temple premises. The main festival celebrated here is Kartikai Deepam.
Lakshminarayanaswami Temple, one of the most visited temples of Salem District is dedicated to Lord Vishnu located at Puduplayam Kottaimedu near Tharamangalam in Salem District. This ancient temple dates back about 600 years and was built during Pandya period. It is also said that the temple is one of the seven built by the famous Ketti mudaliars. The temple boasts many Panchaloha (alloy of five metals) idols. Sukavaneswarar Temple, an ancient temple located at Salem is known to be the seat of sage Suka who worshipped Lord Shiva to free himself from Brahma's curse, which would turn him into a parrot. There are many inscriptions on the walls of this temple dating back to the pre-Christian era. The deities of the temple are Sukavaneswarar and Swarnambika.
The temples of Salem District are some of the premier tourist destinations and also pilgrimages for the people visiting south India. These temple bear remarkable architecture and carvings.