Arulmigu Mariamman Temple, Udumalpet
Sri Mariamman templeis located in the city of Udumalpet, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and is about 500 years old.
The main deity, Mariamman is made of sand and clay like many of the traditional Mariamman deities, and hence unlike many other Hindu deities there are no abhishekams (sacred washing) conducted to the main deity, but instead the "abishekam" is done to the small stone statue in front of it.
Mariamman is invoked three times a year to regenerate village soil and protect the community against disease and death. Other places may have an important Mariamman festival. Mariamman is not a peaceful and benign goddess.
She can be vindictive, inexorable, and difficult to propitiate. Essentially she is a personification of the world's natural forces, but specifically she is a goddess of smallpox, chickenpox, and other diseases. Her role is ambivalent for she both inflicts the diseases and protects the village from them.
The onset of disease or disaster causes special worship or a festival of the goddess, for they are caused by demons let in because the goddess's defences have broken down or because the goddess is angry at being neglected. Mariamman reminds people that their ordered world can be shattered at any time and worshipping her makes one's view of reality less fragile.
When the villagers are afflicted, so is the goddess invaded by demons. The villagers and the goddess are suffering the invasion of the village together and that is why one can say that the goddess causes the epidemic. The goddess suffers most but cannot contain it all and spreads it to the villagers, who help her deal with it.
Mariamman is especially favourable at this time to those suffering from the disease, for they are helping her bear the burden of the demonic attack. Blood offerings of animals are commonly sacrificed at festivals of Mariamman, but this is not invariably the case.