Tamil Religious Rituals The Marieamman Temple


The Marieamman Temple in Pretoria is the temple of Tamil-speaking people who came from Mauritius and South India. They began arriving in the city from the late 19th century and were settled in the Asiatic Bazaar, one of three locations that made up the Marabastad area.

In 1905, they established the Pretoria Tamil League (PTL), built a Tamil school on Cowie Street and worshipped in the Subramaniar Temple, a little tin shanty at one end of the school yard.

In the 1920’s, the PTL undertook the construction of the Marieamman Temple on a plot on 6th street next to the home of Mr. G Krishnan Pillay (Krishnanné), who took major responsibility for the project.
The temple was built over a period of twelve years, from 1928 to 1939.

The shrines were built first and as funds were accumulated other sections, such as the mandapam (open prayer hall/portico) with the balipeedam (altar) near the entrance and the kodi (flagpole), were added. The gopuram (the entrance tower or gateway) was the last to be built. G. Krishnan Pillay designed it and supervised its construction.              

Major renovations and restorations were made in 1958 and from 1989 to 1999. These improvements were consecrated in Khumba Abishegam (consecration and dedication) ceremonies.

The temple is dedicated to the Supreme Being (Brahman) in the form of the Divine Mother, Marieamman (the Rain Goddess), also known as Shakthi, Devi, Durga, Kali, Parvathy and by many other names.

An image (murthi) of Marieamman is enshrined in the cella (inner sanctum) of the temple. Other murthis have been placed in mulasthana (niches) leading to the inner sanctum.

There is a mulasthanam for Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity, eldest son of Marieamman, who is invoked at the beginning of every ceremony as he is the remover of obstacles and supplication to him is necessary for a successful outcome.

In another niche are the murthis of Muruga and his two consorts, Velli and Devayanai. Muruga, God of War and second son of Marieamman, provides strength and protection. Muruga is characterised by the vel (spear)  in his hand and the mayil (peacock), his vahanam (vehicle). A murthi of the peacock stands  to one side of the mandapam.

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0 #3 hiloko johannes 2016-08-14 22:57
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-1 #2 Jaya Rossi Chetty 2012-08-03 06:01
Hello, My name is Jaya Rossi (Chetty). I grew in Location in Marabastat. I now live in Australia but have never forgotten my roots. What a wonderful childhood I had. My family is Orient Cinema Chettys. I am so interested to find any photos of my days with Krishaanne. I would love to show my grandchildren how happy were as children in marabastat, before everyone moved to Laudium. Can you help me find some of the photos or perhaps a magazine. Please write to me as I was a very big friend of Mootha, Neela and Sundras Kolapan in my early days in 1960's. Nothing will ever remove the memories of my childhood. Sometimes in Australia we sit with out families and laugh about Krisha anne and the fun we used to have in tamil schood and all the different families there. If you could send me something of my past, I would dearly appreciate it. Much kindness, Jaya
0 #1 Muthal Naidoo 2010-06-07 17:52
To Charmaine: For the Laudium Tamil Association try
Dhaya at 0824572939
On the home page of this website you will find numbers for the Ayappan Temple and the Pretoria Tamil League

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