Goddess Mariamman bears close resemblance to Goddess Shitaladevi. She is worshipped for different reasons in different states of India. Her consort is Lord Shiva. The Goddess Mariamman is popularly known as the rain Goddess in the South Indian states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and border district of Kerala. The Tamil speaking population is strong and austere devotees of the Goddess who is said to fight for fertility and rain.
There are many controversies regarding the Goddess’s form and origin. Some bear testimony in the goddess to be a small pox goddess, a belief more felt amongst rural Tamils, while some strong believe her being Renukadevi, the mother of Lord Parasurama. Arguments and debates continue unabated eve today. While some believe her to be a form of the Kali some think she is the sister of Maha Vishnu.
Extremely popular amongst locals, this respected goddess is prayed to mainly in small local temples. Worshipped by the Brahmins, Goddess Mariamman is adored on the first day of the Vaikasi, the Tamil month by the Srivaishnava or Iyengar Brahmins of Srirangam. Some of the famous temples housing the deity’s idol include the Sri Ramamirthamman Temple, the Marubai temple, Matunga in Mumbai and more.
The goddess symbolises faith internationally in temples like the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Penang, and other locales on the globe. However, Goddess Mariamman is revered and respected on Tuesdays. Fridays too can be chosen to pray to the Goddess. This fast is primarily practised by consuming only vegetarian food on either or both days as per the devotee’s wish.